This week's peculiarity is the Triassic temnospondyl Sclerothorax from Germany, a bit of a Frankenstein taxon (I'm stretching the Halloween theme a bit) with a surprising mix of cranial and postcranial anatomy and a weird skull!
New publication: A new varanopid synapsid from the early Permian of Oklahoma and the evolutionary stasis in this clade (Maho, Gee, & Reisz, Royal Society Open Science)
Title: A new varanopid synapsid from the early Permian of Oklahoma and the evolutionary stasis in this clade
Authors: S. Maho, B.M. Gee, R.R. Reisz
Journal: Royal Society Open Science vol. 6, article #191297
DOI to paper: 10.1098/rsos.191297
General summary: My first paper on an unequivocal crown amniote! I've gone to the dark side... But fear not, the temnospondyls will be back in short order and in force over the next few months! I tagged onto this project that Sigi Maho, our current M.Sc. student, former undergrad, and future med student (sorry if you were looking for a potential Ph.D. student) completed for her undergraduate thesis this past academic year (2018-2019). We described a new species of varanopid synapsid from Richards Spur that's been lying on the back-burner for some time now. For the uninitiated, varanopids are one family of 'pelycosaurs,' a grade of early synapsids that span the late Carboniferous to the middle Permian, and synapsids are the group that gives rise to mammals like us. Don't think that pelycosaurs looked like us though - they include the charismatic, sail-backed Dimetrodon (and the slightly less charismatic but similarly sail-backed Edaphosaurus), the herbivorous caseids (which have stupidly sized head-to-body proportions), and the small, carnivorous eothyridids. You would probably be more inclined to closely associated varanopids with reptiles if you saw one running around today (which is an ongoing debate but not the point of this paper).
Been on a bit of a hiatus lately (busy month academically), but we're back for #TemnospondylTuesday! I'm still musing whether to do another themed series (probably starting in two weeks in November), so between now and then, I'll cover one oddball each week. Up this week is Peltobatrachus, a peculiar late Permian temnospondyl from Tanzania! As a bonus, it has a toy version that you can buy for not an exorbitant amount of money!
About the blog
A blog on all things temnospondyl written by someone who spends too much time thinking about them. Covers all aspects of temnospondyl paleobiology and ongoing research (not just mine).