|New data on the ichthyosaur Platypterygius hercynicus and its implications for the validity of the genus|Fischer, V (2012). New data on the ichthyosaur Platypterygius hercynicus and its implications for the validity of the genus. Acta Palaeontol. Pol. 57(1): 123-134. hdl.handle.net/10.4202/app.2011.0007
In: Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. Polska Akademia Nauk. Instytut Paleobiologii: Warszawa. ISSN 0567-7920; e-ISSN 1732-2421
Ichthyosauria, Ophthalmosauridae, Platypterygius hercynicus, Cretaceous, Saint-Jouin, France
The description of a nearly complete skull from the late Albian of northwestern France reveals previously unknown anatomical features of Platypterygius hercynicus, and of European Cretaceous ichthyosaurs in general. These include a wide frontal forming the anteromedial border of the supratemporal fenestra, a parietal excluded from the parietal foramen, and the likely presence of a squamosal, inferred from a very large and deep facet on the quadratojugal. The absence of a squamosal has been considered as an autapomorphy of the genus Platypterygius for more than ten years and has been applied to all known species by default, but the described specimen casts doubt on this putative autapomorphy. Actually, it is shown that all characters that have been proposed previously as autapomorphic for the genus Platypterygius are either not found in all the species currently referred to this genus, or are also present in other Ophthalmosauridae. Consequently, the genus Platypterygius must be completely revised.