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1024px-Kaiwhekea katikiDB17

Kaiwhekea is an extinct genus of plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian age) of what is now New Zealand.

History of discovery[]

Kaiwhekea NT small

Restoration

The type species, Kaiwhekea katiki, was first described by Arthur Cruickshank and Ewan Fordyce in 2002. Kaiwhekea was approximately 7 metres long and lived around 70-69 million years ago. The single known specimen, found in the Katiki Formation, is nearly complete, and is on display at the Otago Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand.[1]

Classification[]

Kaiwhekea has been placed as an aristonectine plesiosaur close to Aristonectes (O'Keefe and Street, 2009). In 2010, Kaiwhekea was transferred to Leptocleididae,[2] but more recent analyses do not find the same result.[3]

The following cladogram shows the placement of Kaiwhekea within Elasmosauridae following an analysis by Rodrigo A. Otero, 2016:[4]

1024px-Kaiwhekea1DB

Restoration of the head

Elasmosauridae

Eromangasaurus carinognathus




Callawayasaurus colombiensis




Libonectes morgani





Tuarangisaurus keyesi



Thalassomedon haningtoni





CM Zfr 115




Hydrotherosaurus alexandrae



Futabasaurus suzukii





Aristonectinae

Kaiwhekea katiki




Alexandronectes zealandiensis




Morturneria seymourensis




Aristonectes parvidens



Aristonectes quiriquinensis






Elasmosaurinae

Terminonatator pointeixensis





Elasmosaurus platyurus



Albertonectes vanderveldei





Styxosaurus sp. (="Hydralmosaurus serpentinus")




Styxosaurus snowii



Styxosaurus browni












In popular culture[]

  • Kaiwhekea appeared in the video game Jurassic World: The Game.
  • Kaiwhekea appears in the video game Path of Titans as the first aquatic.

References[]

  1. (2002) "A new marine reptile (Sauropterygia) from New Zealand: further evidence for a Late Cretaceous austral radiation of cryptoclidid plesiosaurs". Palaeontology 45 (3): 557–575. DOI:10.1111/1475-4983.00249. 
  2. (2010) "Global interrelationships of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) and the pivotal role of taxon sampling in determining the outcome of phylogenetic analyses". Biological Reviews 85: 361–392. DOI:10.1111/j.1469-185X.2009.00107.x. PMID 20002391. 
  3. (2016) "Redescription of Tuarangisaurus keyesi (Sauropterygia; Elasmosauridae), a key species from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Weddellian Province: Internal skull anatomy and phylogenetic position". Cretaceous Research. DOI:10.1016/j.cretres.2016.11.014. 
  4. (2016) "Taxonomic reassessment of Hydralmosaurus as Styxosaurus: new insights on the elasmosaurid neck evolution throughout the Cretaceous". PeerJ 4: e1777. DOI:10.7717/peerj.1777. PMID 27019781. 

External links[]

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