Sven Sachs, Michela M. Johnson, Mark T. Young, and Pascal Abel (2019)
The mystery of Mystriosaurus: Redescribing the poorly known Early Jurassic teleosauroid thalattosuchians Mystriosaurus laurillardi and Steneosaurus brevior.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 64(3): 565-579
The genus Mystriosaurus, established by Kaup in 1834, was one of the first thalattosuchian genera to be named. The holotype, an incomplete skull from the lower Toarcian Posidonienschiefer Formation of Altdorf (Bavaria, southern Germany), is poorly known with a convoluted taxonomic history. For the past 60 years, Mystriosaurus has been considered a subjective junior synonym of Steneosaurus. However, our reassessment of the Mystriosaurus laurillardi holotype demonstrates that it is a distinct and valid taxon. Moreover, we find the holotype of "Steneosaurus" brevior, an almost complete skull from the lower Toarcian Whitby Mudstone Formation of Whitby (Yorkshire, UK), to be a subjective junior synonym of M. laurillardi. Mystriosaurus is diagnosed in having: a heavily and extensively ornamented skull; large and numerous neurovascular foramina on the premaxillae, maxillae and dentaries; anteriorly oriented external nares; and four teeth per premaxilla. Our phylogenetic analyses reveal M. laurillardi to be distantly related to Steneosaurus bollensis, supporting our contention that they are different taxa. Interestingly, our analyses hint that Mystriosaurus may be more closely related to the Chinese teleosauroid (previously known as Peipehsuchus) than any European form.
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