Dolicho1a.jpg (95150 bytes)

 

Dolichorhynchops bonneri

KUVP 40001

A large polycotylid from the Pierre Shale (Lower Campanian) of South Dakota, U.S.A.

 

Copyright ?2006-2009 by

Mike Everhart

 

 Page created 03/25/2006

Last Updated 03/22/2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEFT: The reconstructed skull of Dolichorhynchops as displayed at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center.  The original specimen (KUVP 40001) is in the collection of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence, Kansas.

The skull of this specimen (KUVP 40001) was collected from the Sharon Springs Member of the Pierre Shale of South Dakota in the 1970s. Another specimen, a relatively complete set of post-cranial remains (KUVP 40002) was collected about four miles away in Niobrara County, Wyoming.  Together, the two specimens were initially described as a new species, "Trinacromerum bonneri," by Dawn A. Adams in 1997. At about the same time, however, Ken Carpenter (1996) re-described Trinacromerum and Dolichorhynchops, and chronologically limited Trinacromerum to specimens occurring from the Cenomanian through the Turonian (see also Schumacher and Everhart, . Carpenter (1996) also identified KUVP 40001 as Dolichorhynchops osborni.   According to Carpenter, and based on extant specimens at the time, the first occurrence of Dolichorhynchops was in the lower Campanian Smoky Hill Chalk and extended into the lower Pierre Shale. This implies a gap of about 3 million years between the last known occurrence of Trinacromerum bentonianum and the first known occurrence of Dolichorhynchops osborni.  More recently, the gap between the two genera has been narrowed somewhat by fragmentary specimens reported by Everhart (2003) in the upper Coniacian Smoky Hill Chalk and the recent discovery of cf. Dolichorhynchops remains in the lower Coniacian Fort Hays Limestone of Jewell County, KS (Everhart, Decker and Decker, 2006).

Based on Carpenter's (1996) analysis, it can be assumed that the specimen represents the genus Dolichorhynchops, and not Trinacromerum. However, since the specimen was described and named by Adams (1997) as a new species, there is still some confusion regarding the species name (bonneri). As of December, 2007, the issue had not been formally resolved.  In any case,  KUVP 40001 and 40002 represent two of the largest polycotylids known from the Western Interior Sea.

Besides KUVP 40001 and the three specimens from the Smoky Hill Chalk, there are four skulls of polycotylids identified as Dolichorhynchops from the Pierre Shale (Carpenter, 1996): UCM 35059 (Sharon Springs Member, Pierre Shale, Red Bird, Niobrara County, Wyoming); AMNH 5834 (Sharon Springs Member, Pierre Shale, Red Bird, Niobrara County, Wyoming); UNSM 50133 (Sharon Springs Member, Pierre Shale, Hat Creek drainage, Fall River County, South Dakota); and UNSM 55810 (a small juvenile skull from the Sharon Springs Member, Pierre Shale, Hat Creek drainage, Fall River County, South Dakota).  KUVP 40001 was collected from the Wallace Ranch (about 10 feet below the Ardmore Bentonite, Sharon Springs Member, Pierre Shale, Hat Creek drainage, Fall River County, South Dakota) while KUVP 40002 was collected from the Johnson Ranch, northeast of Redbird, Niobrara County, Wyoming about 10 feet above the Ardmore Bentonite, Sharon Springs Formation, Pierre Shale Group.

Dolichorhynchops skulls*           Length   

Occurrence

UNSM 55810 34 cm Pierre Shale - Lower Campanian, South Dakota
UCM 35059 45 cm Pierre Shale - Lower Campanian, Wyoming
MCZ 1064 (2) 47 cm

Smoky Hill Chalk, Lower Campanian, Kansas

FHSM VP-404  51.3 cm Smoky Hill Chalk, Lower Campanian, Kansas
KUVP 1300 (Holotype - skeleton) 57 cm Smoky Hill Chalk, Lower Campanian, Kansas
UNSM 50133 61.8 cm Pierre Shale - Lower Campanian, South Dakota
AMNH 5834 74.5 cm Pierre Shale - Lower Campanian, Wyoming
KUVP 40001 (below) 98 cm Pierre Shale - Lower Campanian, South Dakota
        * Data from Carpenter, 1996 and Everhart, 2004

The following pictures of the specimen were taken recently (11/2007) in the collections of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History. 

KUVP40001-Ba.jpg (26825 bytes) LEFT: The crushed skull of KUVP 40001 in right ventral view.   The skull is 98 cm in length.
KUVP40001-Fa.jpg (18696 bytes) LEFT: The posterior portion of the skull of KUVP 40001 in right ventral view. 
KUVP40001-Ga.jpg (17534 bytes) LEFT: The middle portion of the skull of KUVP 40001 in right ventral view.
KUVP40001-Ea.jpg (20073 bytes) LEFT: The anterior portion of the skull of KUVP 40001 in right ventral view.  The tooth in the left maxilla indicated by the arrow is shown in close-up view below.
KUVP40001-Da.jpg (16020 bytes) LEFT: A reasonably complete maxillary tooth in lingual view. Scale bar = 3 cm
KUVP40001-Ca.jpg (21551 bytes) LEFT: two complete teeth in the right premaxilla.  Scale bar = 5 cm.  Although not specifically mentioned in her text, she noted that each premaxilla has 5 teeth (1997, see Fig. 8, Reconstructed skull...).

Carpenter (1996, p. 274) noted “The number of teeth in the premaxillaries is more variable than reported by Brown (1981) for Jurassic plesiosaurs. The numbers range from as few as 4 pairs (FHSM VP-404) to seven (UCM 35059), although five to six teeth is more common. This variability is not ontogenetic because UCM 35059 is the smallest complete skull, yet has the greatest number of teeth.”

KUVP40001-Aa.jpg (21802 bytes) LEFT: The lower jaw of KUVP 40001 in dorsal view.
KUVP40001-Ia.jpg (27945 bytes) LEFT: Teeth associated with the remains of the skull of KUVP 40001.
KUVP40001-Ha.jpg (28636 bytes) LEFT: A rear (upside-down) view of the skull of KUVP 40001 showing the occipital condyle.

 The skull of KUVP 40001 was prepared out by Triebold Paleontology (Woodland Park, Colorado) and re-inflated to produce an accurate reconstruction (See my web page about the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center for more views of the combined specimens (KUVP 40001 and 40002)). The following pictures, except as noted, of the reconstructed skull were taken in the spring of 2006 at a Gem and Mineral show in Kansas City. 

KU40001-1a.jpg (21322 bytes) LEFT: The reconstructed skull of Dolichorhynchops bonneri (KUVP 40001) in left lateral view. The lower jaw measures about 97 cm. This is the largest known skull of Dolichorhynchops. Another view is here.
KU40001origa.jpg (18823 bytes) KU40001-2a.jpg (11546 bytes) FAR LEFT: A cast of the original skull and lower jaws as collected (Exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, CO).

LEFT: The reconstructed skull in posterior left oblique view.

RIGHT: The same skull in posterior view.

KU40001-3a.jpg (11994 bytes)
KUVP40002-1a.jpg (41986 bytes) LEFT: Cast of the left rear-paddle of KUVP 40002, a polycotylid from the Pierre Shale of South Dakota.

References:

Adams, D. A. 1977. Trinacromerum bonneri, a new polycotylid plesiosaur from the Pierre Shale of South Dakota and Wyoming.  Unpublished Masters thesis, University of Kansas, 97 pages.

Adams, D. A. 1997. Trinacromerum bonneri, new species, last and fastest pliosaur of the Western Interior Seaway. Texas Journal of Science, 49(3):179-198.

Bonner, O. W. 1964. An osteological study of Nyctosaurus and Trinacromerum with a description of a new species of Nyctosaurus, Unpublished Masters thesis, Fort Hays State University, 63 pages.

Brown, D. 1981. The English Upper Jurassic Plesiosauroidea (Reptilia) and a review of the phylogeny and classification of the Plesiosauria. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology 35: 253-347.

Carpenter, K. 1996. A review of  short-necked plesiosaurs from the Cretaceous of the Western Interior, North America, Neues Jahrbuch f黵 Geologie und Pal鋏ontologie Abhandlungen, (Stuttgart) 201(2): 259-287.

Carpenter, K. 1997. Comparative cranial anatomy of two North American Cretaceous plesiosaurs, pp. 191-216, In Calloway, J. M. and E. L. Nicholls, (eds.), Ancient Marine Reptiles, Academic Press.

Everhart, M. J. 2003. First records of plesiosaur remains in the lower Smoky Hill Chalk Member (Upper Coniacian) of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions 106(3-4):139-148.

Everhart, M. J. 2004. New data regarding the skull of Dolichorhynchops osborni (Plesiosauroidea: Polycotylidae) from rediscovered photos of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology specimen. Paludicola 4(3):74-80.

Everhart, Michael J. 2005. Oceans of Kansas - A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea. Indiana University Press, 320 pp. ISBN: 0253345472

Everhart, M.J., Decker, R., and P. Decker, P. 2006. Earliest remains of Dolichorhynchops osborni (Plesiosauria: Polycotylidae) from the basal Fort Hays Limestone, Jewell County, Kansas.

Everhart, M. J. 2007. Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Creatures of the Deep. National Geographic, 192 p. ISBN-13:978-1426200854

O'Keefe, F. R. 2008. Cranial anatomy and taxonomy of Dolichorhynchops bonneri new combination, a polycotylid plesiosaur from the Pierre Shale of Wyoming and South Dakota. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28(3): 664-676.

Sato, T. 2005. A new polycotylid plesiosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Upper Cretaceous Bearpaw Formation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Paleontology 79(5): 969-980.

Schumacher, B. A. and Everhart, M.J. 2005. A stratigraphic and taxonomic review of plesiosaurs from the old “Fort Benton Group” of central Kansas: A new assessment of old records. Paludicola 5(2):33-54.

Sternberg, G. F. and Walker, M.V. 1957. Report on a plesiosaur skeleton from western Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions, 60(1):86-87.

Williston, S. W. 1902. Restoration of Dolichorhynchops osborni, a new Cretaceous plesiosaur, Kansas University Science Bulletin, 1(9):241-244, 1 plate.

Williston, S. W. 1903. North American Plesiosaurs. Field Columbian Museum, Pub. 73, Geological Series, 2(1):1-79, 29 plates.


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