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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 70–69 Ma
Kaiwhekea katikiDB17.jpg
Restoration with size comparison
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Sauropterygia
Order: Plesiosauria
Family: Elasmosauridae
Clade: Aristonectinae
Genus: Kaiwhekea
Cruickshank & Fordyce, 2002
  • Kaiwhekea katiki Cruickshank & Fordyce, 2002 (type)

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

History of discovery[edit]


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]


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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cruickshank, Arthur R.I.; Fordyce, R. Ewan (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. ^ Ketchum, H. F.; Benson, R. B. J. (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. PMID 20002391. doi:10.1111/j.1469-185X.2009.00107.x. 
  3. ^ O'Gorman, J.P.; Otero, R.A.; Hiller, N.; Simes, J.; Terezow, M. (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. 

External links[edit]

  • Kaiwhekea, University of Otago, New Zealand