Palaeobiodiversity of crocodylomorphs from the Lourinhã Formation based on the tooth record: insights into the palaeoecology of the Late Jurassic of Portugal

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Abstract

Crocodylomorphs were a diverse clade in the Late Jurassic of Portugal, with six taxa reported to date. Here we describe 126 isolated teeth recovered by screen-washing of sediments from Valmitão (Lourinhã, Portugal, late Kimmeridgian–Tithonian), a vertebrate microfossil assemblage in which at least five distinct crocodylomorph taxa are represented. Ten morphotypes are described and attributed to five clades (Lusitanisuchus, Atoposauridae, Goniopholididae, Bernissartiidae and an undetermined mesoeucrocodylian). Four different ecomorphotypes are here proposed according to ecological niches and feeding behaviours: these correspond to a diet based on arthropods and small vertebrates (Lusitanisuchus and Atoposauridae), a generalist diet (Goniopholididae), a durophagous diet (Bernissartiidae) and a carnivorous diet. Lusitanisuchus mitracostatus material from Guimarota is here redescribed to achieve a better illustration and comparison with the new material.
This assemblage shares similar ecomorphotypes with other Mesozoic west-central European localities, where a diversity of crocodylomorphs lived together, avoiding direct ecological competition through niche partitioning. The absence of large marine crocodylomorphs, present in other contemporaneous assemblages, is here interpreted as evidence that the Valmitão assemblage was deposited in a freshwater environment, although sample bias cannot be completely ruled out. These affinities are further supported by the presence of lanceolate and leaf-shaped teeth associated with continental clades.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZoological Journal Of The Linnean Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Atoposauridae
  • Bernissartiidae
  • Goniopholididae
  • Kimmeridgian–Tithonian
  • vertebrate microfossil assemblage

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