Aelurognathus

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Aelurognathus
Temporal range: Permian
Aelurognathus sp.jpg
Aelurognathus sp. skull at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Order: Therapsida
Family: Gorgonopsidae
Subfamily: Rubidgeinae
Genus: Aelurognathus
Haughton, 1924
Type species
Aelurognathus tigriceps
(Broom and Haughton, 1913) (originally Scymnognathus tigriceps)
Species
  • A. alticeps (Brink and Kitching, 1953 [originally Lycaenops alticeps])
  • A. broodiei (Broom, 1941 [originally Sycosaurus broodiei])
  • A. ferox (Broom, 1948 [originally Smilesaurus ferox])
  • A. kingwilli (Broom, 1948 [originally Tigricephalus kingwilli])
  • A. maccabei (Broom, 1948 [originally Prorubidgea maccabei])
  • A. quadrata (Haughton, 1926 [originally Dixeya quadrata)
  • A. tigriceps (Broom and Haughton, 1913 [originally Scymnognathus tigriceps]) (type)
Synonyms
  • Dixeya Haughton, 1926
  • Aelurognathus nyasaensis Haughton, 1926
  • Aelurognathus serratidens (Haughton, 1915 [originally Scymnognathus serratidens])

Aelurognathus is an extinct genus of gorgonopsian therapsid from the Permian of South Africa.

Discovery[edit]

A. tigriceps restoration
Aelurognathus sp. skull
Life restoration of Aelurognathus ferox

The type species is Aelurognathus tigriceps, originally named Scymnognathus tigriceps by South African paleontologists Robert Broom and Sydney H. Haughton in 1913, and later assigned to the new genus Aelurognathus by Haughton in 1924. Gebauer (2007) erected five new species of Aelurognathus, all of which were previously assigned to other genera: Aelurognathus alticeps, Aelurognathus broodiei, Aelurognathus ferox, Aelurognathus kingwilli, and Aelurognathus maccabei.[1]

Scymnognathus parringtoni von Huene, 1950, previously assigned to Aelurognathus, is now classified as a species of Sauroctonus.[2]

Palaeobiology[edit]

A broken tooth beside the skeleton of a dicynodont from the Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone has been attributed to Aelurognathus, indicating that it scavenged. The bones of the back of the skeleton are the most scattered, suggesting that the Aelurognathus individuals fed on the rear of the carcass, removing the hind limbs to reach the soft underside. The small incisor teeth of Aelurognathus indicate that it was not able to crush bone but more likely stripped flesh from its prey like the modern-day wild dog Lycaon pictus. Bite marks on the bones of the skeleton were unlikely to have been made by Aelurognathus and may be an indication that another predator killed the dicynodont.[3]

Classification[edit]

Below is a cladogram from the phylogenetic analysis of Gebauer (2007):[1]

Gorgonopsia 

Aloposaurus




Cyonosaurus




Aelurosaurus


Gorgonopsidae

Scylacognathus




Eoarctops



Gorgonops




Njalila




Lycaenops




Arctognathus




Inostrancevia


Rubidgeinae

Aelurognathus




Rubidgea




Sycosaurus



Clelandina














References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gebauer, E.V.I. (2007). Phylogeny and evolution of the Gorgonopsia with a special reference to the skull and skeleton of GPIT/RE/7113 ("Aelurognathus"? parringtoni) (Thesis). Dissertation Universität Tübingen. 
  2. ^ Gebauer E I, 2014. Re-assessment of the taxonomic position of the specimen GPIT/RE/7113 (Sauroctonus parringtoni comb. nov., Gorgonopsia). In: Kammerer C F, Angielczyk K D, Fröbisch J eds. Early Evolutionary History of the Synapsida. Dordrecht: Springer. 185−207.
  3. ^ Fordyce, N.; Smith, R.; Chinsamy, A. (2012). "Evidence of a therapsid scavenger in the Late Permian Karoo Basin, South Africa". South African Journal of Science 108 (11/12). doi:10.4102/sajs.v108i11/12.1158.  edit