A new species of Metoposaurus from the Late Triassic of Portugal and comments on the systematics and biogeography of metoposaurid temnospondyls

Stephen L. Brusatte, Richard J. Butler, Octávio Mateus, J. Sébastien Steyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Metoposaurids are a group of temnospondyl amphibians that filled crocodile-like predatory niches in fluvial and lacustrine environments during the Late Triassic. Metoposaurids are common in the Upper Triassic sediments of North Africa, Europe, India, and North America, but many questions about their systematics and phylogeny remain unresolved. We here erect Metoposaurus algarvensis, sp. nov., the first Metoposaurus species from the Iberian Peninsula, based on several new specimens from a Late Triassic bonebed in Algarve, southern Portugal. We describe the cranial and pectoral anatomy of M. algarvensis and compare it with other metoposaurids (particularly other specimens of Metoposaurus from Germany and Poland). We provide a revised diagnosis and species-level taxonomy for the genus Metoposaurus, which is currently represented with certainty by three European species (M. diagnosticus, M. krasiejowensis, M. algarvensis). We also identify cranial characters that differentiate these three species, and may have phylogenetic significance. These include features of the braincase and mandible, which indicate that metoposaurid skulls are more variable than previously thought. The new Portuguese bonebed provides further evidence that metoposaurids congregated in fluvial and lacustrine settings across their geographic range and often succumbed to mass death events. We provide an updated paleogeographic map depicting all known metoposaurid occurrences, which shows that these temnospondyls were globally distributed in low latitudes during the Late Triassic and had a similar, but not identical, paleogeographic range as phytosaurs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere912988
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015

Keywords

  • ATLANTIC MAGMATIC PROVINCE
  • PERMIAN MASS EXTINCTION
  • AMPHIBIAN METOPOSAURUS
  • JURASSIC BOUNDARY
  • IBERIAN PENINSULA
  • POLAND
  • ORIGIN
  • PHYLOGENY
  • ARCHOSAURIFORMES
  • STEREOSPONDYLI

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