Abstract

The Jurassic was a key interval for the evolution of dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs and many other vertebrate groups. In recent years, new vertebrate fossils have emerged from the Early–Middle Jurassic of the Isle of Skye, Scotland; however, much more is known about Skye's dinosaur fauna than its crocodylomorphs. Here we report new crocodylomorph material collected from Jurassic marine deposits at Prince Charlie's Cave on the NE coast of Skye. The specimen is a small cobble containing postcranial elements from an individual that is considerably larger in size than previous crocodylomorphs described from Skye. Based on features of the vertebrae and osteoderms, the specimen is assigned to Thalattosuchia, an extinct clade of semi-aquatic/pelagic crocodylomorphs. Specifically, the sub-circular and bean-shaped pit ornamentation on the dorsal surface of the osteoderms in alternating rows suggests affinities with the semi-aquatic lineage Teleosauroidea. Although the ornamentation pattern on the osteoderms is most similar to Macrospondylus (‘Steneosaurus’) bollensis, we conservatively assign the specimen to Teleosauroidea indeterminate. Regardless of its precise affinities and fragmentary nature, the specimen is the first thalattosuchian discovered in Scotland and is the most northerly reported Jurassic thalattosuchian globally, adding to our understanding of the palaeobiogeography and evolution of this group.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Early Career Research collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/SJG-early-career-research

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