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Unusual tetrapod teeth from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Arizona, USA

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Two teeth collected from the Upper Triasssic Chinle Formation of northeastern Arizona are described here and named Kraterokheirodon colberti gen. et sp. nov. These teeth are novel in having an occlusal ridge with six cusps and a posterior shelf lacking dentine. Evidence for thecodont implantation of the root suggests amniote affinities for these teeth. They do not match any teeth known for basal vertebrates or basal tetrapods. Although the teeth display some affinities with "traversodont" cynodonts, there are significant differences that preclude a referral to this group. These teeth most probably represent an unknown tetrapod clade and document the presence of a large amniote previously unknown from Late Triassic terrestrial faunas.

Deux dents provenant de la Formation de Chinle du Trias supérieur du nord-est de l'Arizona sont décrites et attribuées à Kraterokheirodon colberti gen. et sp. nov. Ces dents sont uniques en cela qu'elles présentent une crête occlusale dotée de six cuspides et un plan de morsure postérieur exempt de dentine. Des observations à l'appui d'une implantation thécodonte de la racine laissent croire à des affinités avec les amniotes. Ces dents diffèrent de toute autre dent attribuable à des vertébrés primitifs ou des tétrapodes primitifs. Bien qu'elles présentent certaines affinités avec les cynodontes « traversodontes », d'importantes différences écartent leur affectation à ce groupe. Ces dents représentent vraisemblablement un clade de tétrapodes inconnu et témoignent de la présence d'un grand amniote, jusqu'ici inconnu, dans les faunes terrestres du Trias tardif.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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