Evidence of a therapsid scavenger in the Late Permian Karoo Basin, South Africa

South African Journal of Science

Field Value
Title Evidence of a therapsid scavenger in the Late Permian Karoo Basin, South Africa
Creator Fordyce, Nicholas Smith, Roger Chinsamy, Anusuya
Subject Palaeontology dicynodont; gorgonopsians; carnivore damage; taphonomy; Dicynodontia; tooth serrations
Description Dicynodonts are an extinct group of herbivorous non-mammalian therapsids (‘mammal-like’ reptiles) that are widely known from terrestrial Permo-Triassic strata throughout Pangaea. Dicynodont fossil remains are common within the Late Permian Beaufort Group of the Karoo Basin in South Africa. A large, partially articulated dicynodont skeleton recovered from the Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone is taphonomically important in having an unusual disarticulation pattern, bone surface punctures and a broken tooth of an unidentified carnivore associated with it. Here we report on the nature of the bone damage, and the identity of the carnivore that lost a canine tooth whilst scavenging the dicynodont carcass. The morphological characteristics of the serrations on the unidentified tooth were compared with those of contemporaneous carnivores, the gorgonopsians and therocephalians. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of a silicone cast of the unidentified tooth revealed distinctive 0.5-mm square-shaped serrations. Our comparative assessment of the tooth size, curvature, cross-sectional shape and morphology of the serrations revealed that the unidentified canine most closely matched Aelurognathus, a gorgonopsian known from the same assemblage zone.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor University of Cape Town
Date 2012-10-29
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — scientific
Format application/pdf text/html text/xml application/octet-stream
Identifier 10.4102/sajs.v108i11/12.1158
Source South African Journal of Science; Vol 108, No 11/12 (2012); 4 pages 1996-7489 0038-2353
Language eng
Relation https://journals.sajs.aosis.co.za/index.php/sajs/article/view/1158/1482 https://journals.sajs.aosis.co.za/index.php/sajs/article/view/1158/1483 https://journals.sajs.aosis.co.za/index.php/sajs/article/view/1158/1487 https://journals.sajs.aosis.co.za/index.php/sajs/article/view/1158/1566
Coverage Karoo Basin Permian Dicynodonts
Rights Copyright (c) 2012 Nicholas Fordyce, Roger Smith, Anusuya Chinsamy https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0