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A description of new albanerpetontid material from the Mesozoic of Europe and its bearing on the systematic position of the group

McGowan, Gerard Joseph; (1995) A description of new albanerpetontid material from the Mesozoic of Europe and its bearing on the systematic position of the group. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The Albanerpetontidae are a group of salamander-like, fossil amphibians, known from deposits of Middle Jurassic to Miocene age, in Europe, North America and Central Asia. This work presents a detailed description of new albanerpetontid material, consisting of two new articulated albanerpetontid specimens from the Lower Cretaceous of Las Hoyas, Cuenca, Spain, and of dissociated skull and postcranial remains from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) of Kirtlington, Oxfordshire and the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) of Purbeck, Dorset, both England. It also describes in detail Albanerpeton megacephalus from the Early Cretaceous (Albian) of Pietraroia, Italy. Reexamination of the atlas and trunk vertebrae of Prosiren elinorae and a comparison with the albanerpetontid material from Kirtlington indicates that albanerpetontids should not be included in the family Prosirenidae. Similarly, consideration of Fox & Naylor's 13 supposedly diagnostic character states of their new Order Allocaudata casts doubts on its validity. A theory is advanced to account for the development of the unique 'atlas-axis' complex of albanerpetontids based on current theories of tetrapod vertebral resegmentation. An examination of Albanerpeton inexpectatum material from the Miocene of La Grive-Saint-Alban, France and modern plethodontid salamanders, to check for intraspecific variation, casts doubt on the validity of several albanerpetontid species but features of the frontal suggest that more than one genus may be represented. A comparison of albanerpetontid character states with Palaeozoic and Recent amphibians was undertaken to help clarify the phylogenetic position of albanerpetontids. An hypothesis is put forward for the phylogenetic position of albanerpetontids as sister-taxon of frogs and salamanders (+ or - caecilians).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A description of new albanerpetontid material from the Mesozoic of Europe and its bearing on the systematic position of the group
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Earth sciences; Fossil amphibians
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104440
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