Molecular and morphological phylogenies concur in indicating that the African lineages formerly referred to Crocodylus niloticus are the sister taxon the four Neotropical crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius, C. moreleti, C. acutus and C. rhombifer), implying a transoceanic dispersal from Africa to America. So far the fossil record did not contribute to identify a possible African forerunner of the Neotropical species but, curiously, the oldest remains referred to the African C. niloticus are Quaternary in age, whereas the oldest American fossils of Crocodylus are older, being dated to the early Pliocene, suggesting that another species could be involved. We re-described, also thanks to CT imaging, the only well-preserved topotipic skull of Crocodylus checchiai Maccagno, 1947 from the late Miocene (Messinian) African site of As Sahabi in Libya. As previously suggested on the basis of late Miocene material from Tanzania, C. checchiai is a valid, diagnosable species. According to our phylogenetic analyses, C. checchiai is related to the Neotropical taxa and could be even located at the base of their radiation, therefore representing the missing link between the African and the American lineages.

Old African fossils provide new evidence for the origin of the American crocodiles / M. Delfino, D.A. Iurino, B. Mercurio, P. Piras, L. Rook, R. Sardella. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 10:1(2020), pp. 11127.1-11127.11. [10.1038/s41598-020-68482-5]

Old African fossils provide new evidence for the origin of the American crocodiles

D.A. Iurino
Secondo
Formal Analysis
;
2020

Abstract

Molecular and morphological phylogenies concur in indicating that the African lineages formerly referred to Crocodylus niloticus are the sister taxon the four Neotropical crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius, C. moreleti, C. acutus and C. rhombifer), implying a transoceanic dispersal from Africa to America. So far the fossil record did not contribute to identify a possible African forerunner of the Neotropical species but, curiously, the oldest remains referred to the African C. niloticus are Quaternary in age, whereas the oldest American fossils of Crocodylus are older, being dated to the early Pliocene, suggesting that another species could be involved. We re-described, also thanks to CT imaging, the only well-preserved topotipic skull of Crocodylus checchiai Maccagno, 1947 from the late Miocene (Messinian) African site of As Sahabi in Libya. As previously suggested on the basis of late Miocene material from Tanzania, C. checchiai is a valid, diagnosable species. According to our phylogenetic analyses, C. checchiai is related to the Neotropical taxa and could be even located at the base of their radiation, therefore representing the missing link between the African and the American lineages.
Settore GEO/01 - Paleontologia e Paleoecologia
2020
Article (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
s41598-020-68482-5.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Article
Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 5.84 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
5.84 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/959870
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 7
  • Scopus 17
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 16
social impact