Article: A new galesaurid (Therapsida: Cynodontia) from the Lower Triassic of South Africa
A new galesaurid cynodont, Progalesaurus lootsbergensis gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of a well-preserved skull, lower jaw, right scapula and left atlantal neural arch. Autapomorphies of Progalesaurus include postcanine teeth bearing numerous mesial and distal accessory cusps that flank a recurved main cusp, a post-temporal fenestra bordered by the squamosal ventrally and a large external naris. Progalesaurus is similar to Galesaurus in possessing a poorly defined masseteric fossa on the dentary, a strongly recurved main cusp of the postcanine dentition, an incomplete secondary palate and a similar basisphenoid-parasphenoid morphology. A cladistic analysis of ten early cynodont genera resolves a monophyletic Galesauridae encompassing Cynosaurus, Progalesaurus and Galesaurus, although support for this clade is weak. Procynosuchus and Dvinia are placed at the base of Cynodontia whereas Thrinaxodon and Platycraniellus are positioned higher, but outside of Eucynodontia. The holotype and only known specimen of Progalesaurus was collected during systematic prospecting of Permo/Triassic boundary strata at New Lootsberg Pass, Graaff-Reinet District, South Africa. The discovery of Progalesaurus increases the number of valid Early Triassic cynodonts to four and sheds light on the tempo of early cynodont diversification after the end-Permian mass extinction.