Cranial anatomy of the giant Middle Triassic temnospondyl Cherninia megarhina and a review of feeding in mastodonsaurids

Show simple item record Damiani, Ross J 2015-01-09T13:13:42Z 2015-01-09T13:13:42Z 2001
dc.identifier.issn 0078-8554
dc.description.abstract The skull of Cherninia (,Parotosuchus') megarhina, a giant but poorly known mastodonsaurid temnospondyl from the Upper Horizon of the Middle Triassic N'tawere Formation of the Upper Luangwa Valley, Zambia, is redescribed and refigured in detail for the first time. Cherninia megarhina is highly derived in most aspects of its cranial morphology and is characterised by the presence of a massively broad and elongated snout, relatively tiny orbits that are set well back on the skull roof, small, near-laterally directed tabular horns, an occipital sensory sulcus, and prominent, forked ridges on the skull roof. The palate is characterised by the presence of a ventral exoccipital-pterygoid contact, a short basicranial suture, a narrow parasphenoid body, a broad pterygoid body, and choanae that are placed far forward of the interpterygoid vacuities. The presence in Cherninia megarhina of numerous cranial autapomorphies justifies its separation from Parotosuchus. These autapomorphies are shared with Cherninia (‘Parotosuchus') denwaifrom the Middle Triassic Denwa Formation of India. The lateral orientation of the tabular horns and morphology of the otic region suggests that Cherninia megarhina is slightly more derived than the Indian species. Mastodonsaurids have traditionally been perceived as passive, benthic suction-feeders. However, recent work on the anatomy and functional morphology of the skeleton of mastodonsaurids suggests that they were designed for active swimming and predation. As such, it is hypothesised that prey capture was achieved using sideways sweeps of the head rather than suction-feeding. en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The Council's Research Committee, University of the Witwatersrand; National Research Foundation (NRF); Palaeo-Anthropology Scientific Trust (PAST); en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research en_ZA
dc.subject temnospondyl en_ZA
dc.subject Triassic en_ZA
dc.subject Cherninia megarhina en_ZA
dc.subject Mastodonsauridae en_ZA
dc.subject feeding en_ZA
dc.title Cranial anatomy of the giant Middle Triassic temnospondyl Cherninia megarhina and a review of feeding in mastodonsaurids en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search WIReDSpace


My Account