Teraterpeton nests with Trilophosaurus

Updated January 06, 2019
with new data in the form of photos leading to a new nesting of Teraterpeton with Trilophosaurus, despite the many differences (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Skulls of Teraterpeton and Trilophosaurus compared.

Figure 1. Skulls of Teraterpeton and Trilophosaurus compared.

The enigmatic Teraterpeton (Fig. 1), originally (Sues 2003) considered a relative of Trilophosaurus largely due to its toothless beak and lack of a lateral temporal fenestra. Now that nesting is confirmed.


Figure 2. Teraterpeton skull. Note the confluent naris and antorbital fenestra.

Teraterpeton is so weird,
t is no wonder it has remained an enigma for so long. Nesting such enigmas is exactly what the large reptile tree (not updated yet) is for. Earlier Teraterpeton nested with Tropidosuchus in the large reptile tree, but a mismatch that needed repairing.

Teraterpeton hrynewichorum (Sues 2003) Late Triassic, ~215 mya, was described as euryapsid (lacking a lateral temporal fenestra) and possibly related to the rhynchocephalian, Trilophosaurus on that basis, but with a stretched out rostrum and far fewer, smaller teeth. The lateral temporal fenestra has been shortened so much that the lateral temporal fenestra has closed up. So, it’s still a diapsid morphology. The teeth had the multiple cusps of a plant eater. The pedal(?) unguals are robust, but note the disparate sizes.

Sues H-D 2003. An unusual new archosauromorph reptile from the Upper Triassic Wolfville Formation of Nova Scotia. Canadian. Journal of Earth Science 40(4): 635-649.


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