The new pliosaur site near Aramberri, north-eastern Mexico, during the 2003 dig. Photo: Dino Frey, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Karlsruhe.

Plesiosaurs

In collaboration with Marie-Céline Buchy (Universität Karlsruhe, Germany), Dr Eberhard ?Dino' Frey (Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe, Germany), Dr Wolfgang Stinnesbeck (Universität Karlsruhe), Dr José Guadalupe López-Olivia (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico) and Martin Götte (Germany), I am currently working on the description of new pliosaur material from the Upper Jurassic La Casita Formation of north-eastern Mexico. This material represents the first diagnostic record of a sauropterygian in Mexico. 

The recognition of the La Casita fossils led to the discovery of the skeleton of what could be the largest marine reptile ever reported ? an 18 metre long pliosaur from deposits of a similar age near the north-eastern Mexican town of Aramberri. The excavation of this material commenced in 2002 and will continue through until at least 2004.

Other research we are conducting includes a reassessment of the palatal anatomy of pliosaurs and the implications this has for the breathing mechanism they employed. Comparisons with material referred to Australia's largest pliosaur,Kronosaurus queenslandicus, from the Early Cretaceous of Queensland, are proving central to all these investigations.

Relevant publications

Buchy, M.-C., Frey, E. & Salisbury, S. W. 2006. Internal cranial anatomy of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia): evidence for a functional secondary palate. Lethaia, 39, 290-303. pdf

3. Buchy, M.-C. Frey, E., Salisbury, S. W., Stinnesbeck, W. López-Oliva, J. G. and Götte, M. 2006. An unusual pliosaur (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the Kimmeridgian (Upper Jurassic) of northeastern Mexico. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Monatshefte, 240 (2), 241-270.