Named By: L. B. Albright, D. D. Gillette & A. L. Titus - 2007.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria, Polycotylidae, Polycotylinae.
Species: E. rankini (type).
Known locations: USA - Utah - Tropic Shale Formation.
Time period: Turonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete individual.
is another example of one of the short necked/long jawed polycotylid
of the Cretaceous era. The genus name Eopolycotylus
means ‘Dawn Polycotylus’ and is a reference
to the earlier
appearance of Eopolycotylus in the fossil record to
type genus of the Polycotylidae. The type species name honours David
O. Rankin who discovered the type specimen in 2001.
The long jaws and needle-like teeth of Eopolycotylus indicate that it was a hunter of fish and possibly other small marine organisms. Eopolycotylus itself however may have been prey to large Cretaceous era pliosaurs such as Brachauchenius which is also known from the Tropic Shale Formation. Another polycotylid plesiosaur from this formation that was also named in the same year as Eopolycotylus is Palmulasaurus.
- Plesiosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) Tropic Shale of southern Utah, part 2: Polycotylidae. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(1):41-58. - L. B. Albright, D. D. Gillette & A. L. Titus - 2007.