Unusual soft tissue preservation in the Early Cretaceous (Aptian) crocodile cf. Susisuchus from the Crato Formation of north east Brazil

Grant J. Field, David M. Martill

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    Abstract

    A new specimen of the neosuchian crocodylomorph, Susisuchus sp. from the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) Crato Formation of Ceará, North East Brazil is remarkable for extensive preservation of the epidermis and limb musculature. The specimen comprises incomplete post-cranial remains, including an articulated sequence of thirteen thoracic vertebrae, a disarticulated pair of lumbar vertebrae and all four limbs articulated in varying degrees of completeness but divorced from the axial skeleton. Soft tissues are preserved in two distinct modes, in close association with the skeletal remains. An external mould of the dorsolateral scales of the trunk extends over a bedding plane surface while mineralisation of soft tissues preserving the musculature surrounds the left forelimb. Soft tissue preservation is extremely rare in crocodylomorphs and this is only the second report of soft tissue preservation in a crocodilian from the Crato Formation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCretaceous Research
    Early online date4 Apr 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusEarly online - 4 Apr 2017

    Keywords

    • Crato Formation
    • Cretaceous
    • Crocodylomorpha
    • Neosuchia
    • Susisuchus
    • Soft tissue preservation

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