Les Thalattosuchia jurassiques de Normandie des collections Vautier et Morière : contexte historique et redécouverte des plastotypes


fr Geodiversitas 43 (6) - Pages 151-186

Published on 25 March 2021

The Thalattosuchia from the Jurassic of Normandy in the collections of Abel Vautier (1794-1863) and Pierre-Gilles Morière (1817-1888): historical context and rediscovery of the plastotypes

Abel Vautier (1794-1863) had set up an eclectic private museum in Caen, in which an important palaeontological collection was kept. He had acquired several remarkable specimens of Jurassic marine reptiles from Normandy (Ichthyosauria, Plesiosauria and Thalattosuchia). After his death, these specimens were purchased in November 1863 by Jacques-Amand Eudes-Deslongchamps and in 1935 they were included in the collections of the Faculty of Sciences of Caen. Another personality from Caen, Pierre-Gilles Morière (1817-1888), had also collected several important specimens of Thalattosuchia from the Jurassic of Normandy. Unlike Vautier, Morière did not seek to build a private collection and he deposited his finds directly at the Faculty of Caen. All the pieces collected by Vautier and Morière nevertheless suffered the same fate and were destroyed in the bombardments of Caen in 1944. This article traces the history of the most emblematic specimens of these collections, notably, the holotype of “Metriorhynchusblainvillei (J.-A. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1867) found in the Lower Callovian of Sannerville (Calvados) in 1844, the holotype of Deslongchampsina larteti (J.-A. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1866) discovered before 1853 in the Calcaire de Caen (Middle Bathonian) at Fleury-sur-Orne, the holotype of “Metriorhynchusbrachyrhynchus (J.-A. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1867) found in 1864 in the Callovian of Mesnil de Bavent (Calvados), and finally a complete skull of Teleidosaurus calvadosii (J.-A. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1866), designated here as the lectotype of this species, discovered in 1864 in the Calcaire de Caen (Middle Bathonian) at Fleury-sur-Orne. Under the impetus of Eudes-Deslongchamps, plaster casts of these specimens were made between 1866 and 1868 by Jean-Benjamin Stahl, head of the moulding workshop of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. They were distributed to various museums and science faculties in France. Some plastotypes of “Metriorhynchusblainvillei, Deslongchampsina larteti, “Metriorhynchusbrachyrhynchus, and Teleidosaurus calvadosii, whose origin had long been forgotten, have been rediscovered in several French public collections.

Keywords :

Thalattosuchia, Teleosauroidea, Metriorhynchoidea, Ichthyosauria, Plesiosauria, Jurassic, Bathonian, Callovian, Normandy, History of palaeontology

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