NOTA PRELIMINAR SOBRE UN NUEVO GAVIAL DEL PLIOCENO DE VENEZUELA Y UNA DISCUSION DE LOS GA VIALES SUDAMERICANOS

William D Sill

Abstract


kanogavialis gameroi, a new crocodile from the Pliocene of Venezuela possesses the essential features of the family Gavialidae except that the nasal s extend forward to reach the premaxillae. In other features it compares closely with Gavialis columbianus (Langston) and is somewhat less comparable to Rbampbostomopsis (Rusconi) and an undescribed gavial from Brazil. Where known, all of the South American gavials show the contact between the nasals and the premaxillae, while retaining beyong doubt the other characteristics of the Gavialidae based on specimens from Asia. The long nasals of the South American gavials suggest that the Asian rnembers of the family may represent an endemic group in which reduction of the nasals is a secondary feature. More information is needed about the earliest gavials, one of which may have been Tomistoma gavialoides (Andrews). Until more is known in this respect the relationship between the South American and Asian gavials, and between Gavialidae and Crocodylidae will remain uncertain.

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