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June 2019
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Palaeovertebrata in press article


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

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e1
 

Cite this article: Spindler F., 2020. The skull of Tetraceratops insignis (Synapsida, Sphenacodontia). Palaeovertebrata 43 (1)-e1. doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e1

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Abstract

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



in press

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