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The skull of Tetraceratops insignis (Synapsida, Sphenacodontia)
Frederik Spindler
Keywords: cranium; pelycosaur; Permian; therapsid origins

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e1

    Tetraceratops insignis is known from a single, crushed skull from the Lower Permian of Texas. Its unique proportions and osteological details gained central meaning in the question of the origins of Therapsida since this early synapsid has been determined as the oldest and less derived therapsid. Apart from Tetraceratops, the ‘mammal-like’ Therapsida and their sister, the pelycosaur-grade Sphenacodontidae, are separated by one of the longest ghost lineages in tetrapod fossil record. However, the minor, though well justified critique faced insistent publication regarding the therapsid hypothesis. A carefull re-evaluation of the holotypic skull reveals that therapsid traits cannot be supported, including a rejection of the formerly supposed adductor shelf in the temporal fenestra. Increased understanding of ‘pelycosaur’ character variation underlines a haptodontine-grade or, less likely, sphenacodontid position for Tetraceratops

  Article infos

Published in Vol 43-1 (2020)

Rongeurs Caviomorphes de l'Oligocène de Bolivie. 2 Rongeurs du Bassin Deseadien de Salla-Luribat.
René Lavocat
Keywords: cranium; Paleobiogeography; Rodentia

    The fauna studied in the following work involves the dentitions and skulls more or less complete of 5 genera, among which only Cephalomys was previously known by its skull. One must notice that the Salla's species of this genus is a new one. Sallamys, rather small, shows a dentition rather similar to that of Platypittamys Wood from Patagonia. The upper molars, more primitive than those of this last genus, according to the smaller dimensions of the hypocone, retain a distinct metaloph. This metaloph tends to be reduced in a way which may give us a possibility to understand how it disappeared in Platypittamys. The upper P4 can be compared as well to that of Platypittamys as to that of Gaudeamus from the African Oligocene. The lower P4, more molarized than that of Platypittamys, is already moving towards the miocene type of structure. The infraorbital foramen is wide and the insertion of the masseter on the muzzle is spacious. Branisamys, genus of a great size, shows an auditory region partly preserved, peculiarly the promontorium with the fenestra rotunda, entirely of the Hystricognathi type. Upper molars are very clearly pentalophodont. A new reconstruction is proposed for the tooth called Villarroelomys by Hartenberger. This tooth is shown to be a lower D4, perhaps of Branisamys , certainly of a rather nearly allied form, and Hartenberger does agree with the essential part of this new conclusion. Of Incamys, two incomplete skulls are known, each one being admitted to be the type of a distinct species, the first one being I. bolivianus, I. pretiosus the second. The infraorbital foramen is of a great size and the impression of the masseter on the muzzle is spacious. The sphenopalatine foramen is widely developed and of a really very uncommon great size. Only Thryonomys from Africa shows a similar tendency to the enlargement of this foramen, but not so extreme. The main basicranial foramina can be observed. The upper teeth, hemi-hypsodont, show, either a vestigial metaloph, similar to that of recent Thryonomys from Africa, associated with a well developed mesoloph, either a well developed metaloph, while the mesoloph is reduced or absent. Cephalomys was previously known by anterior parts of the skull showing a wide infraorbital foramen and a spacious facial insertion of the masseter. Its lacrymal is of the phiomorph type and the spheno-palatine foramen is seemingly of great size, like in Incamys. The species is new. The varied peculiarities of the upper teeth of these genera can be easily understood if we refer to the plan of the teeth of Phiomys andrewsi from the Oligocene and Miocene of Africa. The structure of this genus, clearly more primitive, still typically brachyodont, shows and clearly explains the fundamental coherence of the varied realisations arised from such a structure. Luribayomys n.g. is known only by an anterior half of a skull without teeth. It is remarquable by the great development of the masseter's insertions on the muzzle and by the lacrymal region, well preserved, typically phiomorphid. The classification previously published by A.E. Wood and B. Patterson is granted in its essential parts, provisionally, but not as a definitive solution. Nevertheless the Dasyproctidae are integrated within the Cavioidea, following the conclusions of Bugge and of Vucetich, reached independently. The conclusion emphasizes the exceptional meaning of the fauna of Salla-Luribay. This shows that Platypittamys, while interesting, can no more be supposed certainly representative of the normal structure of the Oligocene Caviomorph, and not even of their ancestors. The anatomical peculiarities exhibited in these new samples, auditory region, lacrymal, spheno-palatine foramen, reinforce the primitive structural identity with the Phiomorpha. Similarly, the new lower D4 favour very close relationships, ever if the affinities of the D4 has been questioned or minimized by Wood and Patterson. It is certainly possible to admit that parallelism could explain limited similarities, like the presence in North America of Rodents with an hystricomorph type of infraorbital foramen and an hystricognath mandible. But if the parallelism could be a sufficient explanation of the identical association of multiple and complete structures observed in the Caviomorpha and Phiomorpha, all the Zoological systematic would have to be questioned. The last positions of A.E. Wood on the subject (1975) are revised and criticised, and the recent publications studying the problems of distance between Africa and South America in Eocene time, as a consequence of the drift, are quoted; the possibility of transportation by rafts is shown. A new hypothesis is proposed about the interrelationships of Pentalophodont Rodents, with interesting paleobiogeographic implications. 

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Published in Vol. 07, Fasc. 3 (1976)

Les Pseudosciuridae (Mammalia, Rodentia) de l'Eocène moyen de Bouxwiller, Egerkingen et Lissieu.
Jean-Louis Hartenberger
Keywords: Bouxwiller; cranium; Egerkingen; Middle Eocene; Rodents

doi: 10.18563/pv.3.2.27-64

    The description of new material from three classic middle Eocene localities of western Europe permits the addition of details to the systematics of primitive Pseudosciurids. The cranial anatomy of Protadelomys cartieri (STEHLIN and SCHAUB) from Egerkingen is described here and compared to that of the Adelomyines from the late Eocene, until now the only ones known. The morphologic and biometric study of the dentition of P. cartieri compared to that of P. alsaticus n. sp. from Bouxwiller and P. Iugdunensis n. sp. from Lissieu, forms respectively older and younger than P. cartieri, permits the evolutionary tendencies of the group to be demonstrated and shows that notable differences in age exist between these localities. This ensemble of forms can constitute a valuable guide lineage in the establishment of a fine stratigraphy of the period. Other less well known lineages are present at Egerkingen along with P. cartieri. They can be related to genera that have been noted int he late Eocene. In conclusion, a criticism of recent zonation proposals, made by divers authors, completes this article. 

  Article infos

Published in Vol. 03, Fasc. 2 (1969)