Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Adult morphology of the therocephalian Simorhinella baini from the middle Permian of South Africa and the taxonomy, paleobiogeography, and temporal distribution of the Lycosuchidae

  • Fernando Abdala (a1), Christian F. Kammerer (a2), Michael O. Day (a1), Sifelani Jirah (a1) and Bruce S. Rubidge (a1)...
Abstract

The Middle Permian tetrapod fauna of the South African Beaufort Group is taxonomically diverse and includes representatives of all major therapsid groups, including the earliest records of Eutheriodontia. In the Middle Permian, eutheriodonts are represented mainly by large therocephalians, which made up a large proportion of the vertebrate predators in these faunas. Here we describe the skull and partial skeleton of a large therocephalian from the uppermost Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (AZ) of South Africa. A combination of features, including the short snout, presence of three to four upper postcanines and presence of teeth on the pterygoid processes, indicates that the new specimen belongs to the earliest-diverging therocephalian family, Lycosuchidae. The presence of a well-developed midline ridge on the ventral surface of the vomer indicates that the new specimen can be referred to Simorhinella baini, a species previously represented only by a tiny juvenile skull. The new specimen forms the basis for a taxonomic re-evaluation of the Lycosuchidae as well as of the geographic and stratigraphic range of the family. We recognize two valid species within the Lycosuchidae: the type species Lycosuchus vanderrieti represented by five specimens and Simorhinella baini represented by two specimens, with an additional 22 specimens currently identifiable as Lycosuchidae incertae sedis . Lycosuchid specimens range throughout the Tapinocephalus and Pristerognathus AZs; specimens of Simorhinella are restricted to the Tapinocephalus AZ, whereas Lycosuchus specimens are documented in both the Tapinocephalus and Pristerognathus AZs.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abdala, F. 2007. Redescription of Platycraniellus elegans (Therapsida, Cynodontia) from the Lower Triassic of South Africa and the cladistic relationships of Eutheriodontia. Palaeontology, 50:591618.
Abdala, F., Rubidge, B. S., and van den Heever, J. 2008. The oldest therocephalians (Therapsida, Eutheriodontia) and the early diversification of Therapsida. Palaeontology, 51:10111024.
Abdala, F., Jashashvili, T., Rubidge, B. S., and van den Heever, J. 2014. New material of Microgomphodon oligocynus (Eutherapsida, Therocephalia) and the taxonomy of southern African Bauriidae, p. 209231. In Kammerer, C. F., Angielczyk, K. D., and Fröbisch, J. (eds.), Early Evolutionary History of the Synapsida. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer Dordrecht.
Angielczyk, K. D., Huertas, S., Smith, R. M. H., Tabor, N. J., Sidor, C. A., Steyer, J. S., Tsuji, L. A., and Gostling, N. J. In press. New dicynodonts (Therapsida, Anomodontia) and updated tetrapod stratigraphy of the Permian Ruhuhu Formation (Songea Group, Ruhuhu Basin) of southern Tanzania. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Boonstra, L. D. 1934. A contribution to the morphology of the mammal-like reptiles of the suborder Therocephalia. Annals of the South African Museum, 31:215267.
Boonstra, L. D. 1935. On some South African reptiles of the suborder Therocephalia preserved in the American Museum of Natural History. American Museum Novitates, 771:112.
Boonstra, L. D. 1953. The lower jaw articulatory region in some pristerognathid therocephalians. Annals of the South African Museum, 42:5463.
Boonstra, L. D. 1954. The pristerognathid therocephalians from the Tapinocephalus-Zone in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum, 42:65107.
Boonstra, L. D. 1964. The girdles and limbs of pristerognathid Therocephalia. Annals of the South African Museum, 48:121165.
Boonstra, L. D. 1969. The fauna of the Tapinocephalus Zone (Beaufort Beds of the Karoo). Annals of the South African Museum, 56:173.
Botha, J., Abdala, F., and Smith, R. 2007. The oldest cynodont: new clues on the origin and diversification of the Cynodontia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 149:477492.
Botha, J. and Angielczyk, K. D. 2007. An integrative approach to distinguishing the Late Permian dicynodont species Oudenodon bainii and Tropidostoma microtrema (Therapsida:Anomodontia). Palaeontology, 50:11751209.
Botha-Brink, J. and Modesto, S. P. 2011. A new skeleton of the therocephalian synapsid Olivierosuchus parringtoni from the Lower Triassic Karoo Basin. Palaeontology, 54:591606.
Broom, R. 1903a. On an almost perfect skull of a new primitive theriodont (Lycosuchus vanderrieti). Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, 14:197205.
Broom, R. 1903b. On some new primitive theriodonts in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum, 4:147158.
Broom, R. 1903c. On the classification of the theriodonts and their allies. Report of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, 1:286294.
Broom, R. 1904. On two new therocephalian reptiles (Glanosuchus macrops and Pristerognathus baini). Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, 15:8588.
Broom, R. 1905. On the use of the term anomodont. Records of the Albany Museum, 1:266269.
Broom, R. 1915. On some new carnivorous therapsids in the collection of the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 85:163173.
Broom, R. 1932. The mammal-like reptiles of South Africa and the origin of mammals. F, H. and Witherby, G., London, 376 p.
Broom, R. 1936. On some new genera and species of Karroo fossil reptiles with notes on some others. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 18:349385.
Cisneros, J. C., Abdala, F., Rubidge, B. S., Denzel Dias, P., and Oliveira Bueno, A. 2011. Dental occlusion in a 260 million year old therapsid, with saber canines, from the Permian of Brazil. Science, 331:16031605.
Cisneros, J. C., Abdala, F., Atayman, S., Rubidge, B. S., Şengör, C., and Schultz, C. L. 2012. A carnivorous dinocephalian from the Middle Permian of Brazil and tetrapod dispersal in Pangaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109:15841588.
Cys, J. M. 1967. Osteology of the pristerognathid Cynariognathus platyrhinus (Reptilia:Theriodontia). Journal of Paleontology, 41:776790.
Day, M. O. 2013. Middle Permian continental biodiversity changes as reflected in the Beaufort Group of South Africa: a bio- and lithostratigraphic review of the Eodicynodon, Tapinocephalus and Pristerognathus assemblage zones. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 387 p.
Day, M. O., Rubidge, B. S., Almond, J., and Jirah, S. 2013. Biostratigraphic correlation in the Karoo: the case of the Middle Permian parareptile Eunotosaurus . South African Journal of Science, 109, 4 p.
Fourie, H. and Rubidge, B. S. 2009. The postcranial skeleton of the basal therocephalian Glanosuchus macrops (Scylacosauridae) and comparison of morphological and phylogenetic trends amongst the Theriodontia. Palaeontologia Africana, 44:2739.
Haughton, S. A. 1915. On two new therocephalian from the Gouph. Annals of the South African Museum, 12:5557.
Haughton, S. A. and Brink, A. S. 1954. A bibliographical list of Reptilia from the Karroo beds of Africa. Palaeontologia Africana, 2:1187.
Huttenlocker, A. K. 2009. An investigation into the cladistic relationships and monophyly of therocephalian therapsids (Amniota: Synapsida). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 157:865891.
Huttenlocker, A. K. 2014. Body size reductions in nonmammalian eutheriodont therapsids (Synapsida) during the end-Permian mass extinction. PLos One 9 (2):e87553.
Huttenlocker, A. K., Sidor, C. A., and Smith, R. M. H. 2011. A new specimen of Promoschorhynchus (Therapsida: Therocephalia: Akidnognathidae) from the lowermost Triassic of South Africa and its implications for therocephalian survival across the Permo–Triassic boundary. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31:405421.
Ivakhnenko, M. F. 2011. Permian and Triassic Therocephals (Eutherapsida) of Eastern Europe. Palaeontological Journal, 45:9811144.
Jenkins, F. A. Jr. 1971. The postcranial skeleton of African cynodonts. Bulletin Peabody Museum of Natural History 36:1216.
Kammerer, C. F. 2014. A redescription of Eriphostoma microdon Broom, 1911 (Therapsida, Gorgonopsia) from the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone of South Africa and a review of Middle Permian gorgonopsians, p. 171184. In Kammerer, C. F., Angielczyk, K. D., and Fröbisch, J. (eds.), Early Evolutionary History of the Synapsida. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer, Dordrecht.
Kemp, T. S. 1969. On the functional morphology of the gorgonopsid skull. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 256:183.
Kemp, T. S. 1972a. Whaitsiid Therocephalia and the origin of cynodonts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 264:154.
Kemp, T. S. 1972b. The jaw articulation and musculature of the whaitsiid Therocephalia, p. 213230. In Joysey, K. A. and Kemp, T. S. (eds.), Studies in Vertebrate Evolution. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.
Kemp, T. S. 1986. The skeleton of a baurioid therocephalian therapsid from the Lower Triassic (Lystrosaurus Zone) of South Africa. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 6:215232.
Kermack, K. 1956. Tooth replacement in mammal-like reptiles of the suborders Gorgonopsia and Therocephalia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 240:95133.
King, G. M. 1996. A description of the skeleton of a bauriid therocephalian from the Early Triassic of South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum, 104:379393.
Kitching, J. W. 1977. The distribution of the Karroo vertebrate fauna. Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Memoir, 1.
Lanci, L., Tohver, E., Wilson, A., and Flint, S. 2013. Upper Permian magnetic stratigraphy of the lower Beaufort Group, Karoo Basin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2013.05.017.
Laurin, M. 1998. New data on the cranial anatomy of Lycaenops (Synapsida, Gorgonopsidae), and reflections on the possible presence of streptostyly in gorgonopsians. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18:765776.
Liu, J., Rubidge, B. S., and Jinling, L. 2009. New basal synapsid supports Laurasian origin for therapsids. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 54:393400.
Mendrez, C. H. 1975. Principales variations du palais chez les thérocéphales Sud-Africains (Pristerosauria et Scaloposauria) au cours du Permien Superieur et du Trias Inférieur. Problémès Actuels de Paléontologie-Évolution des Vertébrés, Colloque International C.N.R.S., 218:379408.
Mendrez-Carroll, C. H. 1979. Nouvelle étude du crâne du type de Scaloposaurus constrictus Owen, 1876 spécimen jeune, Therocephalia, Scaloposauria, Scaloposauridae de la zone à Cistecephalus (Permien supérieur) d'Afrique australe. Bulletin du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Section C, 3:155201.
Nicolas, M. V. M. 2007. Tetrapod biodiversity through the Permo-Triassic Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup) of South Africa. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 668 p.
Nopsca, F. 1923. Die Familien der Reptilien. Verlag von Gebrüder Borntraeger, Berlin, 210 p.
Olson, E. C. 1944. Origin of mammals based upon cranial morphology of the therapsid suborders. Geological Society of America Special Papers, 55:1136.
Rubidge, B. S. 2005. Re-uniting lost continents—fossil reptiles from the ancient Karoo and their wanderlust. South African Journal of Geology, 108:135172.
Rubidge, B. S., Erwin, D. H., Ramezani, J., Bowring, S. A., and De Klerk, W. J., 2013. High-precision temporal calibration of Late Permian vertebrate biostratigraphy: U-Pb zircon constraints from the Karoo Supergroup, South Africa. Geology, 41:363366.
Rubidge, B. S., Johnson, M. R., Kitching, J. W., Smith, R. M. H., Keyser, A. W., and Groenewald, G. H. 1995. An introduction to the biozonation of the Beaufort Group, p. 12. In Rubidge, B. S. (ed.), Biostratigraphy of the Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup). South African Committee for Stratigraphy, Biostratigraphic Series, 1.
Shen, S-Z., Schneider, J. W., Angiolini, L., and Henderson, C. M. 2013 . The International Permian Timescale: March 2013 Update, p. 411416. In Lucas, S. G. et al. (eds.), The Carboniferous-Permian Transition. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 60.
Sidor, C. A., Angielczyk, K. D., Smith, R. M. H., Steyer, J. S., Nesbitt, S. J., Peecook, B. R., Goulding, A. K., and Tolan, S. 2014. Tapinocephalids (Therapsida: Dinocephalia) from the Permian Madumabisa Mudstone Formation (Lower Karoo, Mid-Zambezi Basin) of southern Zambia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 34:980986.
Simon, R. V., Sidor, C. A., Angielczyk, K. D., and Smith, R. M. H. 2010. First record of a tapinocephalid (Therapsida: Dinocephalia) from the Ruhuhu Formation (Songea Group) of southern Tanzania. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30:12891293.
Sigurdsen, T. 2006. New features of the snout and orbit of a therocephalian therapsid from South Africa. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51:6375.
Sigurdsen, T., Huttenlocker, A. K., Modesto, S. P., Rowe, T. B., and Damiani, R. 2012. Reassessment of the morphology and paleobiology of the therocephalian Tetracynodon darti (Therapsida), and the phylogenetic relationships of Baurioidea. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32:11131134.
Smith, R. M. H. and Keyser, A. 1995. Biostratigraphy of the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone, p. 812. In Rubidge, B. S. (ed.), Biostratigraphy of the Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup) Pretoria, South African Committee for Stratigraphy, Biostratigraphic Series 1.
Smith, R. M. H., Rubidge, B. S., and van der Walt, M. 2012. Therapsid biodiversity patterns and palaeoenvironments of the Karoo Basin, South Africa, p. 3162. In Chinsamy-Turan, A. (ed.), Forerunners of Mammals. Radiation. Histology. Biology. Indiana University Press, Blomington.
van den Heever, J. A. 1980. On the validity of the therocephalian Family Lycosuchidae (Reptilia, Therapsida). Annals of the South African Museum, 81:111125.
van den Heever, J. A. 1987. The comparative and functional cranial morphology of the early Therocephalia (Amniota: Therapsida). Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, 576 p.
van den Heever, J. A. 1994. The cranial anatomy of the early Therocephalia (Amniota: Therapsida). Annals of the University of Stellenbosch, 1:159.
van den Heever, J. A. and Hopson, J. A. 1982. The systematic position of “Therocephalia B” (Reptilia: Therapsida). South African Journal of Science, 78:424425.
van der Walt, M., Day, M., Rubidge, B. S., Cooper, A. K., and Netterberg, I. 2010. A new GIS based biozone map of the Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup), South Africa. Palaeontologia Africana, 45:15.
Watson, D. M. S. 1931. On the skeleton of a bauriamorph reptile. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1931:11631205.
Watson, D. M. S. and Romer, A. S. 1956. A classification of therapsid reptiles. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 114:3789.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed