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Alierasaurus, giant caseid synapsid from Permian of Sardinia

Ben Creisler

Two non-dino papers in the new JVP:

Marco Romano & Umberto Nicosia (2014)
Alierasaurus ronchii, gen. et sp. nov., a caseid from the Permian of
Sardinia, Italy
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34(4):  900-913

A giant caseid, Alierasaurus ronchii, gen. et sp. nov., is herein
described, based on a partial postcranial skeleton collected from the
Permian Cala del Vino Formation (Alghero, Nurra, northwest Sardinia).
Despite the highly conservative morphology of ribs and vertebral
material, typical of caseids, the very well-preserved foot elements
show highly autapomorphic features, warranting assignment of the
specimen to a new genus. In particular, the fourth metatarsal is not
short and massive, as in other large caseids, and shows a distinct
axial region. Finally, the claw-shaped ungual phalanges are
autapomorphic in being proportionately very short, with a strong
double ventral flexor tubercle positioned very close to the proximal
phalangeal rim, and a distal end that is not spatulate, but rather
subtriangular in transverse section. Principal component and reduced
major axis slope analyses, performed on 10 caseid specimens, suggest
that the observed changes in overall shape of metatarsal IV were
mainly linked to the enormous body size reached by the Sardinian


Christian A. Sidor, Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Roger M. H. Smith, Adam K.
Goulding, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Brandon R. Peecook, J. Sébastien Steyer
& Stephen Tolan (2014)
Tapinocephalids (Therapsida, Dinocephalia) from the Permian Madumabisa
Mudstone Formation (Lower Karoo, Mid-Zambezi Basin) of southern
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34(4):  980-986