The last “pelycosaur”: a varanopid synapsid from the Pristerognathus Assemblage Zone, Middle Permian of South Africa

  title={The last “pelycosaur”: a varanopid synapsid from the Pristerognathus Assemblage Zone, Middle Permian of South Africa},
  author={Sean P. Modesto and Roger M. H. Smith and Nicol{\'a}s E. Campione and Robert R. Reisz},
We report on a partial varanopid skull and mandible from the Pristerognathus Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group, in the South African Karoo Basin, which is probably latest Middle Permian (Capitanian) in age. This mycterosaurine is not only the youngest known varanopid from the Southern Hemisphere, but it is also the youngest known “pelycosaur” (i.e., non-therapsid synapsid). Like all other members of this clade of hypercarnivores, the teeth are strongly flattened, recurved, and have finely… 

First arboreal 'pelycosaurs' (Synapsida: Varanopidae) from the early Permian Chemnitz Fossil Lagerstätte, SE Germany, with a review of varanopid phylogeny

Systematic results suggest a varanodontine position for Mycterosaurus, the monophyly of South African varanopids including Anningia and the distinction of a skeletal aggregation previously assigned to Heleosaurus, now renamed as Microvaranops parentis gen. et sp.

First European Record of a Varanodontine (Synapsida: Varanopidae): Member of a Unique Early Permian Upland Paleoecosystem, Tambach Basin, Central Germany

A new genus and species of varanodontine varanopid, Tambacarnifex unguifalcatus, is described on the basis of the greater portion of the postcranium and a closely associated partial left dentary from

Early Evolutionary History of the Synapsida

Procrustes analysis of the two best-preserved specimens of these species allowed recognition of further shape differences: M. oligocynus has a taller but narrower cranium, taller snout, temporal opening more expanded laterally, pterygoid process located more anteriorly, and smaller suborbital vacuity.

Youngest dinocephalian fossils extend the Tapinocephalus Zone, Karoo Basin, South Africa

The dinocephalians (Synapsida, Therapsida) were one of the dominant tetrapod groups of the Middle Permian (Guadalupian Epoch, ~270–260 million years ago) and are most abundantly recorded in the

Alierasaurus ronchii, gen. et sp. nov., A Caseid from the Permian of Sardinia, Italy

ABSTRACT A giant caseid, Alierasaurus ronchii, gen. et sp. nov., is herein described, based on a partial postcranial skeleton collected from the Permian Cala del Vino Formation (Alghero, Nurra,

A re-assessment of the oldest therapsid Raranimus confirms its status as a basal member of the clade and fills Olson’s gap

CT scanning techniques are used to digitally reconstruct the bones and trigeminal canals of the snout of Raranimus in 3D and confirm that RarAnimus shares a high number of synapomorphies with more derived therapsids and is the only theraptor known so far to display a “pelycosaur”-like maxillary canal bearing a long caudal alveolar canal that gives off branches at regular intervals.

A new mesenosaurine from the lower Permian of Germany and the postcrania of Mesenosaurus: implications for early amniote comparative osteology

An investigation of limb proportions may suggest the occurrence of facultative bipedalism in Mesenosaurus and Cabarzia, and the documentation for both genera provides the most complete postcranial descriptions of non-varanodontine varanopids.

Tetrapod tracks in Permo–Triassic eolian beds of southern Brazil (Paraná Basin)

Five sets of tracks are described, representing the first occurrence of Dicynodontipus and Chelichnus in the “Pirambóia Formation” of southern Brazil, and it is suggested that this unit represents a humid desert in southwestern Pangea and its lower and upper contacts lead us to consider its age as Lopingian–Induan.

A redescription of Orovenator mayorum (Sauropsida, Diapsida) using high‐resolution μCT, and the consequences for early amniote phylogeny

The earliest known neodiapsid Orovenator mayorum from the lower Permian of Oklahoma is redescribed using high‐resolution μCT, revealing remarkable details of the skull anatomy and prompting questions about relationships among early amniotes.

A re-examination of the enigmatic Russian tetrapod Phreatophasma aenigmaticum and its evolutionary implications

This is only the second example of a caseid from the palaeo-temperate region of Russia, and it is not closely related to the first, implying at least two distinct dispersal events from thePalaeoequatorial to temperate latitudes.



The skull of Mesenosaurus romeri, a small varanopseid (Synapsida: Eupelycosauria) from the Upper Permian of the Mezen River basin, northern Russia

Comparisons with other members of the family support a pattern of relationship that recognizes two clades: one is composed of Mesenosaurus and Mycterosaurus for which the subfamily designation Myctersaurinae is proposed, and the other includes the remaining well­ known varanopseids Elliotsmithia, Varanops,Varanodon, and Aerosaurus.

A second varanopseid skull from the Upper Permian of South Africa: implications for Late Permian ‘pelycosaur’ evolution

Late Permian terrestrial faunas of South Africa and Russia are dominated taxonomically and ecologically by therapsid synapsids. On the basis of a single specimen from the Upper Permian of South

Anatomy and Relationships of the Middle Permian Varanopid Heleosaurus scholtzi Based on a Social Aggregation from the Karoo Basin of South Africa

Phylogenetic analysis of Varanopidae using an augmented data matrix from the literature positions Heleosaurus as the sister taxon of Elliotsmithia within the varanopid subfamily Mycterosaurinae, and both this sister-group relationship and the monophyly of MyCTerosaurinee are weak and collapse with one extra step.

First record of a basal synapsid (‘mammal-like reptile’) in Gondwana

  • D. DilkesR. Reisz
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1996
Elliotsmithia longiceps is a rare synapsid (‘mammal-like reptile’) from the middle part of the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (Beaufort Group; Late Permian) of South Africa that belongs to the basal

Anatomy and relationships of Elliotsmithia longiceps Broom, a small synapsid (Eupelycosauria: Varanopseidae) from the late Permian of South Africa

ABSTRACT Elliotsmithia longiceps Broom, 1937 is a varanopseid synapsid from the middle part of the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (Late Permian) of the Abrahamskraal Formation (Beaufort Group), South

Aerosaurus wellesi, new species, a varanopseid mammal-like reptile (Synapsida : Pelycosauria) from the Lower Permian of New Mexico

ABSTRACT Aerosaurus wellesi n. sp. is based upon two nearly complete articulated skeletons from the Lower Permian deposits near Arroyo del Agua, New Mexico. Study of these superbly preserved

Varanops brevirostris (Eupelycosauria: Varanopidae) from the Lower Permian of Texas, with Discussion of Varanopid Morphology and Interrelationships

ABSTRACT A comprehensive revision of Varanops brevirostris on the basis of a large, well-preserved specimen from a new Lower Permian locality in Texas provides valuable new anatomical information and


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A new Late Permian captorhinid reptile: a first record from the South African Karoo

The Karoo Basin of South Africa preserves a continuous 70million-year sequence of continental rocks spanning the Upper Carboniferous through to the Lower Jurassic. The basin is particularly famous


In their monograph Review of the Pelycosauria, Romer and Price (1940), proposed that the earliest synapsids (“pelycosaurs”) were cosmopolitan, despite the observation that amniotes appeared to be