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[dinosaur] New Yuanansuchus (temnospondyl) species + inner ear of Protungulatum (early post-Cretaceous mammal)

Ben Creisler

New non-dino papers that may be of interest...

Liu Jun (2016) 
Yuanansuchus maopingchangensis sp. nov., the second capitosauroid temnospondyl from the Middle Triassic Badong Formation of Yuanan, Hubei, China. 
PeerJ 4:e1903
doi:  https: // doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1903
https: // peerj.com/articles/1903/

A second species of Yuanansuchus, Y. maopingchangensis, is erected for new temnospondyl material from the Maopingchang site, Yuanan County, Hubei Province, China. These specimens are from the same horizon that produced Y. laticeps, the type species. Y. maopingchangensis shares the following features with Y. laticeps: postorbital portion of skull occupied more than 1/3 of skull length; tabular horn directed laterally; lateral line sulci continuous, well impressed; supraorbital sensory canal enters lacrimal; preorbital projection of jugal less than half length of snout; and vomerine plate short. However, Y. maopingchangensis differs from Y. laticeps in having an elongated skull, frontal extending posteriorly to the level of the posterior orbital margin, closed otic fenestra, cultriform process of parasphenoid extending to the level of the anterior margin of the interpterygoid vacuities, and absence of fodina vomeralis. Analysis of a new capitosaur phylogenetic data matrix, containing 56 characters and 29 species, confirms that the two species from Yuanan are sister taxa and that Capitosauroidea can be divided into two major clades: one including Parotosuchus, Eryosuchus, Calmasuchus and Cherninia, and another including Mastodonsaurus, Yuanansuchus, Stanocephalosaurus, Procyclotosaurus, Paracyclotosaurus, Antarctosuchus, Eocyclotosaurus, Quasicyclotosaurus, Tatrasuchus and Cyclotosaurus.


M. J. Orliac & M. A. O’Leary (2016)
The inner ear of Protungulatum (Pan-Euungulata, Mammalia).
Journal of Mammalian Evolution (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s10914-016-9327-z
http: // link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10914-016-9327-z

We present new anatomical details about the bony labyrinth of Protungulatum based on micro CT-scan investigation of an isolated petrosal bone retrieved at the Puercan locality of Bug Creek Anthills and referred to Protungulatum sp. The exceptional state of preservation of the specimen allowed us to reconstruct the very fine details of the inside of the petrosal bone, including the bony labyrinth, the innervation of the vestibule and the innervation and vasculature of the cochlea. Estimation of the auditory capability of Protungulatum based on cochlear morphology indicate that Protungulatum was specialized for high-frequency hearing, with estimated low frequency limits above 1 KHz. Comparisons with Late Cretaceous non-placental eutherians and with early Tertiary pan-euungulates indicate that the bony labyrinth of Protungulatum is closer in general morphology to Mesozoic forms (low coiling and low aspect ratio of the cochlea, posterior orientation of the common crus, dorsal outpocketing of the cochlear fossula), and shares only a few characters with pan-euungulate and euungulate taxa. Interestingly, the bony labyrinth of Protungulatum also shares some morphological features with South American notoungulates and litopterns recently described from Itaboraí, Brazil. These new observations provide new morphological features of potential phylogenetic interest.