Peirosaurid crocodyliforms were diverse and abundant in the Cretaceous of the Gondwanan landmasses, especially South America. Here, we describe Colhuehuapisuchus lunai, gen. et sp. nov., a new peirosaurid taxon from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian–?lower Maastrichtian) Lago Colhué Huapi Formation of southern Chubut Province in central Patagonia, Argentina. Although represented by only the anterior ∼one-third of the mandible with several complete, in situ teeth, the new taxon exhibits a combination of distinctive morphologies that does not occur in other peirosaurids, including several mandibular and dental autapomorphies. The symphyseal region of the Colhuehuapisuchus mandible is transversely wider than that of any other representative of Peirosauridae, and as such the new form may be most closely related to other broad-snouted peirosaurids such as Barrosasuchus neuquenianus, Gasparinisuchus peirosauroides, and Patagosuchus anielensis. The exceptional diversity of snout and tooth shapes among definitive and probable members of Peirosauridae suggests the existence of a variety of ecological and dietary preferences within the clade. Colhuehuapisuchus constitutes the southernmost peirosaurid occurrence worldwide and arguably the youngest record from Patagonia, thereby expanding the paleobiogeographic range of these distinctive mesoeucrocodylians to nearly the end of the Mesozoic and the southern tip of South America.
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Vol. 85 • No. 3