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Article: Revision of the type material and nomenclature of Mastodonsaurus giganteus (Jaeger) (Temnospondyli) from the Middle Triassic of Germany

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 50
Part: 5
Publication Date: September 2007
Page(s): 1245 1266
Author(s): Markus Moser and Rainer Schoch
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How to Cite

MOSER, M., SCHOCH, R. 2007. Revision of the type material and nomenclature of Mastodonsaurus giganteus (Jaeger) (Temnospondyli) from the Middle Triassic of Germany. Palaeontology50, 5, 1245–1266.

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The type material of Mastodonsaurus is revised and its complicated taxonomic history resolved. The genus was erected by Jaeger in 1828 without a species name, which was added subsequently by Holl (1829) who named the type species Mastodonsaurus jaegeri. The large tooth on which Jaeger based his Mastodonsaurus is chosen herein as lectotype of the type species. A smaller second individual, represented by a piece of an occiput, was also named by Jaeger in 1828 as Salamandroides giganteus and, owing to the find of a complete skull, was recognized in 1833 by the same author as belonging to the same species as the Mastodonsaurus. Therefore, Mastodonsaurus giganteus (Jaeger, 1828) is a senior subjective synonym of the type species M. jaegeri Holl, 1829. The precedence of the two generic names was chosen in 1834 by the first reviser, von Alberti, in favour of Salamandroides, but all later authors, including von Alberti himself, followed Jaeger, who decided in 1837 to retain the name Mastodonsaurus. The established usage of Mastodonsaurus is preserved formally herein (nomen protectum). The names Batrachosaurus Fitzinger, 1837, and Labyrinthodon Owen, 1841 are unjustified replacement names of Mastodonsaurus. The names M. jaegeri von Meyer, 1832, S. jaegeri von Alberti, 1834 and M. salamandroides Jaeger, 1837 are junior homonyms and synonyms of M. jaegeri Holl, 1829, and M. giganteus (Jaeger, 1828), respectively. A recent attempt to replace the universally used Capitosauroidea Watson, 1919 by the unused and newly elevated Mastodonsauroidea Lydekker, 1885 is rejected. Two older synonyms of Mastodonsauridae Lydekker, 1885 (nomen protectum) are rejected as unavailable (Labyrinthodontidae von Meyer, 1842) and nomen oblitum (Batrachosauridae Fitzinger, 1843), respectively. The holotype of Mastodonsaurus giganteus is reinstated and valid on the basis of three diagnostic features present: the tripartite posterior rim of the parasphenoid, a laterally pushed suture between the parasphenoid and basipterygoid, and a wide slit-like eustachian tube opening. Mastodonsaurus is known from specimens representing a continuous growth series, now also encompassing the lectotype of Mastodonsaurus jaegeri, which until rather recently stood isolated from other specimens as the largest find by far.
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