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Eocyclotosaurus appetolatus, new temnospondyl species from Middle Triassic of New Mexico

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Larry F. Rinehart, Spencer G. Lucas & Rainer R. Schoch (2015)
Eocyclotosaurus appetolatus, a new cyclotosaurid amphibian from the
Middle Triassic (Perovkan) Moenkopi Formation of New Mexico, U.S.A.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (advance online publication)

A new species of cyclotosaurid amphibian, Eocyclotosaurus appetolatus,
is based on excellent, three-dimensionally preserved material from New
Mexico Museum of Natural History locality 5193 in the Middle Triassic
(Perovkan) Anton Chico Member of the Moenkopi Formation near
Tecolotito, New Mexico, U.S.A. The locality is a monodominant bonebed,
with E. appetolatus representing the vast majority of the fossil
material. E. appetolatus shares a long, narrow snout and slightly
concave lateral skull margin with other members of the genus, but
differs from all others in that the skull is relatively narrower at
its widest point and the orbits are larger, more elliptical, and
placed more anteriorly. The snout is relatively broader and more
robust, the choana shorter and more rounded, and the palatal tusks are
proportionately larger than in other species. Premaxillary apertures,
larger than those of E. woschmidti, penetrate the skull roof anterior
to and separate from the external nares. E. appetolatus forms the
sister taxon of the more gracile E. wellesi from Arizona, with which
it shares the wide separation of postorbital and prefrontal. The size
range of material from the locality is represented by skulls 227–472
mm in midline length. Preliminary allometric study indicates that the
preorbital snout grows relatively longer and the orbits migrate
posteriorly throughout ontogeny. The snout is relatively slender in
young animals and grows wider and more robust throughout life.
Application of beam mechanics shows mediolateral strengthening of the
anterior teeth, which probably implies a preference for side-strike
prey capture.