, Volume 95, Issue 12, pp 1169-1174
Date: 23 Aug 2008

A new bolosaurid parareptile, Belebey chengi sp. nov., from the Middle Permian of China and its paleogeographic significance

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Abstract

A new bolosaurid parareptile, Belebey chengi sp. nov., is described from Dashankou, Gansu Province, China, a Middle Permian locality which is known mostly for its therapsid fauna. The material consists of well-preserved mandibular and anterior skull remains and currently represents the largest and latest surviving member of Bolosauridae. Phylogenetic analysis of bolosaurid interrelationships, the first analysis of any clade of Early Permian parareptiles, indicates that the new taxon groups consistently with the other (Russian) members of the genus Belebey, and forms the sister clade to the genus Bolosaurus from North America. The Early Permian Eudibamus cursoris from Germany falls into the basal most position within Bolosauridae. Our analysis also shows that the split between the main bolosaurid lineages must have occurred near or before the Permo-Carboniferous boundary and that the paleo-equatorial region of Laurasia probably served as the center of origination for these parareptiles. A similar pattern can be found in other clades of Paleozoic amniotes, suggesting that this may be the general trend in early amniote evolution.

Communicated by G. Mayr