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New Metoposaurus species (temnospondyl amphibian) from Late Triassic of Portugal

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Stephen L. Brusatte, Richard J. Butler, Octávio Mateus & J. Sébastien
Steyer (2015)
A new species of Metoposaurus from the Late Triassic of Portugal and
comments on the systematics and biogeography of metoposaurid
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (advance online publication)

Metoposaurids are a group of temnospondyl amphibians that filled
crocodile-like predatory niches in fluvial and lacustrine environments
during the Late Triassic. Metoposaurids are common in the Upper
Triassic sediments of North Africa, Europe, India, and North America,
but many questions about their systematics and phylogeny remain
unresolved. We here erect Metoposaurus algarvensis, sp. nov., the
first Metoposaurus species from the Iberian Peninsula, based on
several new specimens from a Late Triassic bonebed in Algarve,
southern Portugal. We describe the cranial and pectoral anatomy of M.
algarvensis and compare it with other metoposaurids (particularly
other specimens of Metoposaurus from Germany and Poland). We provide a
revised diagnosis and species-level taxonomy for the genus
Metoposaurus, which is currently represented with certainty by three
European species (M. diagnosticus, M. krasiejowensis, M. algarvensis).
We also identify cranial characters that differentiate these three
species, and may have phylogenetic significance. These include
features of the braincase and mandible, which indicate that
metoposaurid skulls are more variable than previously thought. The new
Portuguese bonebed provides further evidence that metoposaurids
congregated in fluvial and lacustrine settings across their geographic
range and often succumbed to mass death events. We provide an updated
paleogeographic map depicting all known metoposaurid occurrences,
which shows that these temnospondyls were globally distributed in low
latitudes during the Late Triassic and had a similar, but not
identical, paleogeographic range as phytosaurs.


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