Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Late Cretaceous Plesiosaurs

Isolated teeth and vertebrae are the only known remains of Australian plesiosaurs, the authors3 suggesting they are all attributable to elasmosaurids. In the Molecap Greensand a single large dorsal vertebra has been found that has morphology similar to that of Mauisaurus of Campanian-Masstrichtian age from New Zealand, Antarctica and Patagonia, southern South America. In the Molecap Greensand a small tail vertebra has been found that has been described as closely comparable to 'Leptocleidus' clemai a pliosaurid from the Early Cretaceous of Australia. Sediments of Hauterivian-Barremian age are the youngest in which diagnostic remains of this taxon have been found, and the genus is not known from deposits more recent than the Lower Cretaceous. In general structure this vertebra is not dissimilar to those of polycotylids. Because of this the authors3 suggest that until more diagnostic material is found the identification of the specimen should be treated with caution.





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