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A New Burnetiid (Therapsida: Biarmosuchia) from the Upper Permian of South Africa and Its Biogeographic Implications

Roger M. H. Smith, Bruce S. Rubidge and Christian A. Sidor
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jun. 12, 2006), pp. 331-343
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4524573
Page Count: 13
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A New Burnetiid (Therapsida: Biarmosuchia) from the Upper Permian of South Africa and Its Biogeographic Implications
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Abstract

The basal therapsid clade Burnetiamorpha is currently known from six genera of Middle-to-Late Permian age. Bullacephalus, Bumetia, Lemur osaurus, and Lobalopex are from the Beaufort Group of South Africa, whereas Niuksenitia and Proburnetia are from Russian deposits. Here we describe a new taxon from the Upper Permian Teekloof Formation of South Africa that is remarkably similar to Proburnetia. Paraburnetia sneeubergensis, gen. and sp. nov., is diagnosed by the following autapomorphies: supratemporal 'horn' oriented vertically with bulbous terminal end, supraorbital boss with well- defined apical crest, and palatine-pterygoid boss elongate. Paraburnetia and Proburnetia share features indicating a sister-taxon relationship, including the presence of a well-developed median nasal crest and tall supraorbital bosses. Along with the close morphological similarity and phylogenetic relationships of several dicynodont taxa from Russia and South Africa, the discovery of Paraburnetia indicates that long-distance, north-south interchange was commonplace during the Late Permian and that burnetiamorphs likely had a Pangean distribution.

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