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Wantulignathus, new therapsid from Permian of Zambia

April 12, 2016

The most distinctive feature of Wantulignathus gwembensis is the pronounced dentary boss. Similar bosses are known in other therapsids, including anteosaurs and a therocephalian species, but the anatomy preserved in Wantulignathus gwembensis is clearly distinct... Wantulignathus gwembensis helps to shed light on the radiation of therapsids and improves the known geographic scope of tetrapods during the Guadalupian. Although we do not disagree that Guadalupian-aged vertebrate assemblagesare rare, we believe that with continued field work efforts in these localities, we will begin to close Olson’s gap and provide greater geographical and temporal resolution throughout the middle Permian (e.g., Cisneros et al., 2012, 2015). Wantulignathus gwembensis is unknown from the well-sampled Karoo Basin and thus suggests that the fauna from the mid-Zambezi Basin might be more provincial than expected (Sidor et al., 2013).

Etymology—The genus name highlights the conspicuous thickened dentary boss by combining the local Tonga word for thick (wantuli) and the Greek word for jaw (gnathus). The species name refers to the Gwembe District, where the specimen was collected.

Holotype—NHCC LB354, partial left and right dentaries, possible left splenial, rib fragments, incomplete isolated canine tooth.

Megan R. Whitney & Christian A. Sidor (2016)
A new therapsid from the Permian Madumabisa Mudstone Formation (Mid-Zambezi Basin) of southern Zambia.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2016.1150767.


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