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Parrisia neocesariensis, a New Batrachosauroidid Salamander and Other Amphibians from the Campanian of Eastern North America
Robert K. Denton Jr. and Robert C. O'Neill
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Sep. 15, 1998), pp. 484-494
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4523920
Page Count: 11
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The Ellisdale site (Late Cretaceous, Campanian), Monmouth County, New Jersey, has produced the first representative fossil amphibian specimens from the Cretaceous of eastern North America. The known fauna includes indeterminate pelobatid and discoglossid frogs, an amphiumid (cf. Proamphiuma sp.), and a sirenian (cf. Habrosaurus sp.), however, the most abundant caudate remains are from a previously undescribed genus of batrachosauroidid salamander, herein described as Parrisia neocesariensis gen. et sp. nov. The genus Parrisia is established as batrachosauroidid by: an atlas with deeply concave anterior cotyles; lack of a well developed atlantal intercotylar process; and a ring or dome of calcified cartilage on the opisthocoelus vertebral condyles bearing a persistent notochordal pit. It differs from the other members of the family, including Opisthotriton and Prodesmodon (Late Cretaceous, western North America) by the presence of: unossified neural spine tips; paired caudal intravertebral nerve openings; ventral displacement of the posterior vertebral cotyle relative to the anterior; and a unique dentary morphology. The occurrence of delicately preserved amphibian fossils in the tidal channel facies at Ellisdale suggests a proximal fauna, which experienced limited post-mortem transport prior to burial. Typically salt-intolerant, these species may have been the residents of a barrier island/spit freshwater slough, an environment which hosts a number of extant amphibian species on the southeastern Atlantic coast of North America today.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology © 1998 The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology