Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

First post-Mesozoic record of Crocodyliformes from Chile

Stig A. Walsh and Mario Suárez

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 50 (3), 2005: 595-600

Fossil crocodilians are well known from vertebrate bearing localities in South America, but the last record of the group in Chile is from the Cretaceous. No living crocodilians occur in Chile today, and the timing of their disappearance from the country is unknown. We provide the first post-Mesozoic report of crocodilian remains from late Miocene marine deposits of the Bahía Inglesa Formation, northern Chile. The fragmentary material provides proof that Crocodiliformes were present in Chile until at least seven million years ago. We suggest that late Neogene climatic cooling and changes in South American palaeophysiography caused the extinction of the group in Chile.

Key words: Crocodyliformes, climate change, extinction, Bahía Inglesa Formation, Neogene, Chile.

Stig A. Walsh [], Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom; Mario E. Suárez [], Museo Paleontológico de Caldera, Av. Wheelright, Caldera, Chile.

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