Temporal range: Permian
|Aelurognathus sp. skull at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin|
(Broom and Haughton, 1913) (originally Scymnognathus tigriceps)
Aelurognathus is an extinct genus of gorgonopsian therapsid from the Permian of South Africa. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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