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New specimen of Psephoderma alpinum (Sauropterygia, Placodontia) from the Late Triassic of Schesaplana Mountain, Graubünden, Switzerland


Neenan, James M; Scheyer, Torsten M (2014). New specimen of Psephoderma alpinum (Sauropterygia, Placodontia) from the Late Triassic of Schesaplana Mountain, Graubünden, Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 107(2-3):349-357.

Abstract

Psephoderma alpinum is an armoured, durophagous placodont known from the alpine Late Triassic. Here we present a new, well-preserved isolated skull discovered in the Alplihorn Member (Late Norian–Early Rhaetian) of the Kössen Formation, Schesaplana Mountain, which straddles the Swiss/Austrian border. Micro-computed tomographic (µCT) scanning was used to create an accurate osteological reconstruction of the specimen, the first time this has been conducted for Psephoderma. We thus clarify disputed anatomical features from previous descriptions, such as a lack of a lacrimal and a pineal foramen that is enclosed by the parietal. We also present the first description based on µCT data of the lateral braincase wall, sphenoid region and some cranial nerve canals for Psephoderma, with the location of the hypophyseal seat, cerebral carotid foramina, dorsum sellae, prootic foramen, lacrimal foramen, as well as all dental foramina being described. This specimen represents the first skull of Psephoderma recovered in Switzerland, and features such as poorly-sutured braincase elements and its relatively small size compared to other known specimens may indicate that it was a sub-adult.

Abstract

Psephoderma alpinum is an armoured, durophagous placodont known from the alpine Late Triassic. Here we present a new, well-preserved isolated skull discovered in the Alplihorn Member (Late Norian–Early Rhaetian) of the Kössen Formation, Schesaplana Mountain, which straddles the Swiss/Austrian border. Micro-computed tomographic (µCT) scanning was used to create an accurate osteological reconstruction of the specimen, the first time this has been conducted for Psephoderma. We thus clarify disputed anatomical features from previous descriptions, such as a lack of a lacrimal and a pineal foramen that is enclosed by the parietal. We also present the first description based on µCT data of the lateral braincase wall, sphenoid region and some cranial nerve canals for Psephoderma, with the location of the hypophyseal seat, cerebral carotid foramina, dorsum sellae, prootic foramen, lacrimal foramen, as well as all dental foramina being described. This specimen represents the first skull of Psephoderma recovered in Switzerland, and features such as poorly-sutured braincase elements and its relatively small size compared to other known specimens may indicate that it was a sub-adult.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:07 Jan 2015 11:43
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:42
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1661-8726
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00015-014-0173-9

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