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Three-dimensionally preserved integument reveals hydrodynamic adaptations in the extinct marine lizard ectenosaurus (reptilia, mosasauridae).

Lindgren, Johan LU ; Everhart, Michael J and Caldwell, Michael W (2011) In PLoS ONE 6(11).
Abstract
The physical properties of water and the environment it presents to its inhabitants provide stringent constraints and selection pressures affecting aquatic adaptation and evolution. Mosasaurs (a group of secondarily aquatic reptiles that occupied a broad array of predatory niches in the Cretaceous marine ecosystems about 98-65 million years ago) have traditionally been considered as anguilliform locomotors capable only of generating short bursts of speed during brief ambush pursuits. Here we report on an exceptionally preserved, long-snouted mosasaur (Ectenosaurus clidastoides) from the Santonian (Upper Cretaceous) part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas, USA, that contains phosphatized remains of... (More)
The physical properties of water and the environment it presents to its inhabitants provide stringent constraints and selection pressures affecting aquatic adaptation and evolution. Mosasaurs (a group of secondarily aquatic reptiles that occupied a broad array of predatory niches in the Cretaceous marine ecosystems about 98-65 million years ago) have traditionally been considered as anguilliform locomotors capable only of generating short bursts of speed during brief ambush pursuits. Here we report on an exceptionally preserved, long-snouted mosasaur (Ectenosaurus clidastoides) from the Santonian (Upper Cretaceous) part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas, USA, that contains phosphatized remains of the integument displaying both depth and structure. The small, ovoid neck and/or anterior trunk scales exhibit a longitudinal central keel, and are obliquely arrayed into an alternating pattern where neighboring scales overlap one another. Supportive sculpturing in the form of two parallel, longitudinal ridges on the inner scale surface and a complex system of multiple, superimposed layers of straight, cross-woven helical fiber bundles in the underlying dermis, may have served to minimize surface deformation and frictional drag during locomotion. Additional parallel fiber bundles oriented at acute angles to the long axis of the animal presumably provided stiffness in the lateral plane. These features suggest that the anterior torso of Ectenosaurus was held somewhat rigid during swimming, thereby limiting propulsive movements to the posterior body and tail. (Less)
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publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
6
issue
11
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000297555400036
  • pmid:22110629
  • scopus:84858775382
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0027343
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cf648462-d486-41ec-862e-4acfd09c921f (old id 2220481)
date added to LUP
2012-01-10 16:29:44
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:49:32
@article{cf648462-d486-41ec-862e-4acfd09c921f,
  abstract     = {The physical properties of water and the environment it presents to its inhabitants provide stringent constraints and selection pressures affecting aquatic adaptation and evolution. Mosasaurs (a group of secondarily aquatic reptiles that occupied a broad array of predatory niches in the Cretaceous marine ecosystems about 98-65 million years ago) have traditionally been considered as anguilliform locomotors capable only of generating short bursts of speed during brief ambush pursuits. Here we report on an exceptionally preserved, long-snouted mosasaur (Ectenosaurus clidastoides) from the Santonian (Upper Cretaceous) part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas, USA, that contains phosphatized remains of the integument displaying both depth and structure. The small, ovoid neck and/or anterior trunk scales exhibit a longitudinal central keel, and are obliquely arrayed into an alternating pattern where neighboring scales overlap one another. Supportive sculpturing in the form of two parallel, longitudinal ridges on the inner scale surface and a complex system of multiple, superimposed layers of straight, cross-woven helical fiber bundles in the underlying dermis, may have served to minimize surface deformation and frictional drag during locomotion. Additional parallel fiber bundles oriented at acute angles to the long axis of the animal presumably provided stiffness in the lateral plane. These features suggest that the anterior torso of Ectenosaurus was held somewhat rigid during swimming, thereby limiting propulsive movements to the posterior body and tail.},
  articleno    = {e27343},
  author       = {Lindgren, Johan and Everhart, Michael J and Caldwell, Michael W},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {11},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Three-dimensionally preserved integument reveals hydrodynamic adaptations in the extinct marine lizard ectenosaurus (reptilia, mosasauridae).},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027343},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2011},
}