Langobardisaurus(?) rossii and Sophineta revisited

Langobardisaurus (?) rossii probably has the biggest hole in the head of any reptile (Fig. 1).

Langobarisaurus(?) rossii  skull with barely preserved elements colorized and labeled.

Langobarisaurus(?) rossii skull with barely preserved elements colorized and labeled. Actually most of the skull elements are represented here, lacking only the jugal and postorbital. This is the counter plate of the specimen. The plate is filled with putty now.

The hole, in this case, represents missing matrix and bone. Luckily that’s just where this specimen had a large lateral and upper temporal fenestra (Fig. 2). So, despite the matrix hole, several of the key skull bones were preserved on the counter plate. The plate is now filled with putty or filler, but pre-putty photographs also hold some clues.

Everyone already knows
this specimen is not related to the holotype of Langobardisaurus, a tritosaur close to Tanystropheus, Macrocnemus and Cosesaurus. MFSN 19235 needs a new name, by the way.

Figure 2. Langobardisaurus(?) rossii (MFSN 19235) reconstructed. Here it nests between basal sphenodontids and basal tritosaurs + squamates.

Figure 2. Langobardisaurus(?) rossii (MFSN 19235) reconstructed. Here it nests between basal sphenodontids and basal tritosaurs + squamates. Not sure if the mid torso hump as natural or not as this specimen was preserved even more curled up than shown here. Note the relatively large manus and small pes.

L. rossii is a basal lepidosaur
nesting between basal sphenodontids, like Gephyrosaurus, and basal squamates + tritosaurs. And that makes it important.

Figure 3. Sophineta as originally reconstructed (in gray) and as revised based on bone tracing.

Figure 3. Sophineta as originally reconstructed (in gray) and as revised based on bone tracing. Here it wasn’t such a good idea to use the original published reconstruction.

L. rossii nests not too far from Sophinetawhich also has a new look, (Fig. 3, Evans and Borsuk-Bialynicka 2009) without such an oddly large naris and rostral profile. In this case trusting the original reconstruction was not the best idea. Sophineta is a fissure fill specimen with perfect bones completely disarticuated. Individual bones were traced to create the new look. Sophineta appears to have been the more primitive of the two.

References
Bizzarini F and Muscio G 1995. Un nuovo rettile (Reptilia, Prolacertiformes) del Norico di Preone (Udine, Italia Nordorientale). Nota Prelimininare. Gortania – Atti Mus. Friulli. Sti. Nat., 16 (1994): 67-76, Udine.
Bizzarini F, Muscio G and Rossi IA 1995. Un nuovo rettile fossile Langobardisaurus? rossiin. sp. Prolacertiformes (Reptilia) della val Preone (UD), Prealpi Carniche Italine. 1-35 Grafiche Tipo, Catelgomberto.
Evans SE and Borsuk-Bialynicka M 2009. A small lepidosauromorph reptile from the Early Triassic of Poland. Palaeontologia Polonica 65:179-202. online pdf
Renesto S and Dalla Vecchia F 2007. A revision of Langobardisaurus rossii Bizzarini and Muscio, 1995, from the Late Triassic of Friuli (Italy)

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