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Cranial osteology of Arctognathus, gorgonopsian from Permian of South Africa.

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Christian F. Kammerer (2014)
Cranial osteology of Arctognathus curvimola, a short-snouted
gorgonopsian from the Late Permian of South Africa.
Papers in Palaeontology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1002

Gorgonopsia is one of the major clades of nonmammalian therapsids and
includes the dominant vertebrate predators of the Late Permian.
Unfortunately, gorgonopsian taxonomy is extremely problematic, due in
large part to the lack of thorough descriptions and clear differential
diagnoses for most nominal species. Here, the South African
gorgonopsian species Arctognathus curvimola is redescribed based on a
well-preserved skull. Autapomorphies identified for A. curvimola
include a characteristic curvature to the alveolar margin of the
snout, extremely reduced lacrimal, lengthy upper postcanine tooth row
and a unique vomerine morphology. The nominal gorgonopsian species
Arctognathoides breviceps and Lycaenodontoides bathyrhinus are
considered junior synonyms of A. curvimola. Other referred species of
Arctognathus (A. whaitsi, A.? cookei and A.? nasuta) share no unique
characters with A. curvimola and are removed from the genus; their
generic placement is uncertain at present. Previous reports of
Arctognathus from Tanzania and the Middle Permian of South Africa are
not referable to this taxon. At present, definitive specimens of A.
curvimola are restricted to the Upper Permian Cistecephalus and
Dicynodon assemblage zones of South Africa.