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Arthur Smith Woodward, Florentino Ameghino and the first Jurassic ‘Sea Crocodile’ from South America

By
Lorna Steel
Lorna Steel
1
Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
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Eric Buffetaut
Eric Buffetaut
2
CNRS, UMR 8538, Laboratoire de Géologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
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Published:
January 01, 2016

Abstract

The Natural History Museum (NHMUK) fossil reptile collections contain a set of specimens sent to Arthur Smith Woodward in 1908 by the Argentinian palaeontologist, Florentino Ameghino. This collection includes a skull and other material of Cricosaurus, a metriorhynchid thalattosuchian (or ‘sea crocodile’), a group of marine crocodylomorphs that existed from at least the Middle Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous. Handwritten labels in Spanish, probably by Ameghino, and notes in English signed by Smith Woodward are still with the specimens. Using Ameghino and Smith Woodward’s correspondence to investigate the history of the specimens, we have determined that they came from the Vaca Muerta Formation of the Neuquén Basin in Patagonia, they were in the fossil collection of the Museo Nacional, Buenos Aires (MNBA) and that Ameghino loaned them to Smith Woodward for a study that was never published. Therefore, they will be returned to Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’, Buenos Aires. These fossils, although not the most impressive, are probably the first metriorhynchid material collected in South America.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Arthur Smith Woodward: His Life and Influence on Modern Vertebrate Palaeontology

Z. Johanson
Z. Johanson
Natural History Museum, UK
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P. M. Barrett
P. M. Barrett
Natural History Museum, UK
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M. Richter
M. Richter
Natural History Museum, UK
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M. Smith
M. Smith
Natural History Museum, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
430
ISBN electronic:
9781862399624
Publication date:
January 01, 2016

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