The Palate of Endennasaurus

Reconstructing the palate of Endennasaurus.

Figure 1. Reconstructing the palate of Endennasaurus. Here the visibly preserved portions of the pterygoids are beige in color. The invisible portions are restored in dark beige or tan and they probably were dorsal to the palatines which appear to fuse in Renesto’s drawing. The palatines are purple. Restored portions in dark violet. The vomers are orange. The ectopterygoids, completely hypothetical, are brown. Despite the presence of mandibles, the rest of the palate can be approximated by looking at the rest of the skull and making comparisons to other taxa.

The palate of toothless Endennasaurus is distinct. Similar enough to other thalattosaurs, the palate has its own morphology based on basic palate “rules.” A line of matrix separates the front of the palate from the rear. The edges are covered by the mandibles, so some parts need to be restored. Taking all these clues together, plus comparisons to sister taxa, permits an approximation of the palate of Endennasaurus.

Distinct from other thalattosaurs, the anterior pterygoid is dorsal to the joined palatines.

If I’ve made any mistakes, please bring them to my attention. We’ll look at a series of sauropterygian palates next.

As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.

Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.

References
Renesto S 1992. The anatomy and relationships of Endennasaurus acutirostris (Reptilia: Neodiapsida) from the Norian (Late Triassic) of Lombardy. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 97:409-430.
Müller J, Renesto S and Evans SE 2005. The marine diapsid reptile Endennasaurus(Reptilia: Thalattosauriformes) from the Late Triassic of Italy. Palaeontology 48:15-30.

wiki/Endennasaurus

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