Computed tomography and three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull of the stem tetrapod Crassigyrinus scoticus Watson, 1929

Laura B. Porro*, Emily J. Rayfield, Jennifer A. Clack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The early tetrapod Crassigyrinus scoticus was a large aquatic predator known from the lower- to mid-Carboniferous (upper Tournasian to upper Visean/lower Serpukovian, approximately 350–330 Ma) of Scotland and Canada. Crassigyrinus is enigmatic in terms of its phylogenetic position due to its unusual morphology, which features a mixture of primitive and derived characters. Previous reconstructions, based on five incomplete and deformed specimens, have suggested a dorsoventrally tall skull with a short and broad snout, large orbits and external nares, and an extended postorbital region. In this study, we scanned four specimens using computed tomography and segmented imaging data to separate bone from matrix and individual bones from each other. Based on these data, we present a revised description of the upper and lower jaws, including sutural morphology and abundant new anatomical information. Damage was repaired and the skull retrodeformed to create a hypothetical three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull of Crassigyrinus that is dorsoventrally flatter than earlier reconstructions, yet still morphologically unique amongst early tetrapods. Overall skull shape, the size and distribution of the teeth, sutural morphology, and the specialized anatomy of the jaw joint and mandibular symphysis all suggest that Crassigyrinus was a powerful aquatic predator capable of hunting and subduing large prey.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2183134
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Laura B. Porro, Emily J. Rayfield and Jennifer A. Clack. Published with license by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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