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Abstract

A partial exoccipital–opisthotic from the uppermost lower Campanian (Upper Cretaceous) of the Åsen locality, Kristianstad Basin, southernmost Sweden, is described and illustrated. The fossil represents the first braincase element of a plesiosaur found in Sweden. It includes the chamber for the ampulla and utriculus, openings for the caudal vertical and horizontal semicircular canals, and four foramina for cranial nerves. The incomplete braincase can be referred to an elasmosaurid plesiosaur, and closely resembles the exoccipital–opisthotic of Libonectes morgani and a referred specimen of Aristonectes parvidens. Although we discuss putative postcranial material of the elasmosaurid subfamily Aristonectinae in the uppermost lower Campanian of southernmost Sweden, the exoccipital–opisthotic from Åsen most likely belongs to a juvenile individual of a non-aristonectine elasmosaur.

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