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The new species differs from the other Mourasuchus species in having a lateromedially wide, dorsoventrally high jugal bone and a circular incisive foramen, which both represent autapomorphies of the new taxon. In this contribution, Mourasuchus is regarded as a taxon that likely preferred to prey on small animals. While potential caimanine remains have been reported from the Late Cretaceous and the Paleocene of North America (Bryant, 1989; Brochu, 1996), their relationship to other alligatoroids remains untested (Brochu, 2010).The unusual skull morphology of this group may have evolved to cover a large area with the rostrum, allowing for a more efficient prey capture, while the prey may have consisted predominantly of large amounts of small animals. As with the extant species, the fossil diversity of Caimaninae is predominantly South American.Post graduation the two moved to big city Dallas, and after 7 months in the sweltering heat, CJ proposed on a rare frigid night in December at the Dallas Arboretum!
The units that yield the richest and most diverse fossil records of the group are the deposits of the Honda Group in Colombia (Langston, 1965; Langston & Gasparini, 1997) and of the Pebas Formation in Peru (Salas-Gismondi et al., 2015) in the middle Miocene, and those of the Ituzaingó Formation in Argentina (Bona, Riff & Gasparini, 2013), the Urumaco Formation in Venezuela (Aguilera, 2004; Riff et al., 2010) and the Solimões Formation in Brazil (Riff et al., 2010) in the late Miocene.
However, the morphological study of the cranium and mandibles of MCNC-PAL-110-72V performed in this contribution allowed us to conclude that this specimen represents a new species of Mourasuchus. (MCNC-PAL-110-72V) was collected in the late Miocene deposits of the Urumaco Formation, Venezuela, in 1972 by a joint expedition of American and Venezuelan institutions led by eminent paleontologist Dr. There is a discrepancy (see Langston, 2008) about whether the specimen was collected in deposits of the Lower or of the Upper Members of the Urumaco Formation.
Additionally, this paper also provides a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of Caimaninae, including many of the most recently described fossil taxa, as well as comments on the paleoecology and feeding habits of Mourasuchus. Until further information clarifies this issue, we follow Langston (2008) in considering that MCNC-PAL-110-72V was recovered in the stratum better known informally as “capa de huesos” (“layer of bones”) or “capa de tortugas” (“layer of turtles”), located in the Upper Member of the Urumaco Formation (Royo y Gómez, 1960; Linares, 2004; Fig. This interpretation concurs better with the information given in Patterson’s field notes about the locality where the specimen was collected (see Langston, 2008, p.
The other is the “duck-faced” genus Mourasuchus, which traditionally included four species restricted to the Miocene of South America: M.
atopus (Langston, 1965), from the middle Miocene of Colombia and Peru (Langston, 1965; Langston & Gasparini, 1997; Salas-Gismondi et al., 2007; Salas-Gismondi et al., 2015); M.
nov., from the late Miocene of the Urumaco Formation of Venezuela.