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Keywords:

  • Denazinosuchus;
  • Gondwana;
  • Goniopholididae;
  • Jurassic;
  • Laurasia;
  • Lower Cretaceous;
  • Nannosuchus;
  • Pholidosauridae;
  • Sunosuchus;
  • Vectisuchus

A new species, Goniopholis kiplingi sp. nov., based on an exceptionally preserved skull from the Lower Cretaceous of England is described in detail. It shows great similarity with Goniopholis simus and Goniopholis baryglyphaeus, but can be distinguished by the presence of longer lachrymals, smooth (not edged) dorsal surface of the quadrate, and proportionally longer rostrum. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of Mesoeucrocodylia (104 taxa; 486 characters) focused on goniopholidids (14 species) places G. kiplingi as sister-group of G. simus, and as part of a monophyletic group also containing G. baryglyphaeus. The relationships of Nannosuchus gracilidens and three undescribed European taxa are explored, and preliminary analyses of Denazinosuchus kirtlandicus (Upper Cretaceous, USA) and ‘Goniopholis’ phuwiangensis (Lower Cretaceous, Thailand) are presented. The assignment of taxa to the genus Goniopholis is discussed. Goniopholis, in its traditional sense, is considered paraphyletic and a restricted updated definition is proposed, with comments on the evolution of other goniopholidids. Morphological characteristics of fragmentary material attributed to Goniopholis are not considered sufficient to secure their generic/specific assignment, and provide no support for the presence of Goniopholis in Gondwanan and/or Upper Cretaceous sedimentary units. Currently Goniopholis is restricted to the Upper Jurassic−Lower Cretaceous of Europe.

© 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 163, S66–S108.