In this paper we present evidence for pachyostosis in the cryptocleidoid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis Knight, 1900 (O'Keefe and Wahl, 2003a). Pachyostosis is not common in plesiosaurs and is particularly rare in non-pliosaurian plesiosaurs, although enlarged gastralia were first recognized in Tatenectes by Wahl (1999). This study aims to investigate the nature of the disproportionately large gastralia of Tatenectes m greater depth, based on new material. A recently discovered partial skeleton consisting of a dorsal vertebral series, ribs, gastralia, and a complete pelvic girdle was collected from the Jurassic-aged Sundance Formation of the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming during the summer of 2006. The gastralia of this specimen are disproportionately large considering the small size of the taxon (about 3 meters total length), and we therefore investigated the size of these elements quantitatively. Polished cross-sections were also prepared to explore the histology of the ribs and gastralia. The ribs of Tatenectes are not pachyostotic, whereas the gastralia exhibit a novel condition of pachyostosis while lacking osteosclerosis.
Street, H. P., and F. R. O’Keefe. 2010. Evidence of pachyostosis in the cryptocleidoid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis from the Sundance Formation of Wyoming. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(4):1279–1282.