A fourth Langobardisaurus: Saller et al. 2013

Not sure how I missed this five years ago,
knowing my fondness and fascination with the Tritosauria. I learned about the following paper while reading Franco Saller’s doctoral thesis on Macrocnemus and its allies. (More on this later).

Saller et al. 2013
describe a fourth Langobardisaurus (Late Triassic, Norian; Figs. 1-2; P10121), wrongly described as a protorosaurian reptile. Langobardisaurs are tritosaur lepidosaurs in the large reptile tree (LRT, 1326) which tests and includes more taxa.

Figure 1. Langobardisaurus #4, P10121, in situ with bones identified using the DGS method. Reconstruction in figure 2.

Figure 1. Langobardisaurus #4, P10121, in situ with bones identified using the DGS method. Reconstruction in figure 2. Note the sprawling lepidosaur femora. The pectoral girdle is shown in situ. Colors match reconstruction in figure 2.

Saller et al. report: “Reappraisal of all the specimens assigned to the genus Langobardisaurus reveals no significant differences between L. pandolfii and L. tonelloi, allowing to consider the latter as a junior synonym of the former.” I haven’t tested more than one Langobardisaurus in phylogenetic analysis…yet… but I will as I wonder about the validity of this Saller et al. conclusion, which does not appear to be validated given the variety present in these three reconstructions (Fig. 2).

Addendum December 4, 2018:
I just added three new Langobardisaurus specimens to the LRT. The P10121 specimen is basal, nesting between the small Macrocnemus BES SC111 specimen and Cosesaurus, but definitely in the lineage of derived langobardisaurs and having a few derived traits itself. The Langobardisaurus holotype MCSNB 2883 splits next. The MFSN 1921 specimen nests with the MCSNB 4860 specimen (Fig. 2). 

Figure 1. Four Langobardisaurus specimens compared to scale. Contra Saller et al. 2013, these four specimens do not appear to be conspecific.

Figure 2. Four Langobardisaurus specimens compared to scale. Contra Saller et al. 2013, these four specimens do not appear to be conspecific.

Historically,
Langobardisaurus was the first specimen in which tracing elements in a photo using a mouse on a computer monitor revealed more than was observed firsthand and published in the original paper. Specifically the overlooked skull and cervicals were traced hiding beneath the torso (Fig. 3).

Langobardisaurus pandolfi

Figure 3. Langobardisaurus pandolfi referred specimen, MCSNB 4860.

The Langobardisaurus pectoral girdle
is transitional between the walking morphology of HuehuecuetzpalliMacrocnemus and flapping morphology of Cosesaurus (Fig. 4), as we learned earlier here. The P10121 specimen exposes the wide sternum, strap-like scapulae, disc-like coracoids and cruciform interclavicle first seen in L. tonneloi (Figs. 4, 5).

Three pectoral girdles demonstrating the evolution of the elements from the plesiomorphic basal lizard, Huehuecuetzpalli through Langobardisaurus tonelloi to the basal fenestrasaur, Cosesaurus.

Figure 4. Three pectoral girdles demonstrating the evolution of the elements from the plesiomorphic basal lizard, Huehuecuetzpalli through Langobardisaurus tonelloi to the basal fenestrasaur, Cosesaurus.

Bipedal Langobardisaurus
Like aquatic Tanystropheus and flapping Cosesaurus, Langobardisaurus was often bipedal, using its long neck as a survival advantage. Like Cosesaurus, this specimen of Langobardisaurus has prepubes (Fig. 6), which add femoral muscle anchors to the pelvis.

Figure 5. Pectoral girdle of the fourth Langobardisaurus in situ. Blue-scapulae. Yellow-sternum. Tan-interclavicle. Violet-coracoid. Green-humerus.

Figure 5. Pectoral girdle of the fourth Langobardisaurus in situ. Blue-scapulae. Yellow-sternum. Tan-interclavicle. Violet-coracoid. Green-humerus.

Figure 6. Pelvic area in the fourth Langobardisaurus. Cyan-ischia. Deep green-pubes. Indigo-prepubes. Red-sacrals. Tan-ilia.

Figure 6. Pelvic area in the fourth Langobardisaurus. Cyan-ischia. Deep green-pubes. Indigo-prepubes. Red-sacrals. Tan-ilia. Also note the feathery soft tissue in orange and lime yellow. For those interested in the DGS method, this is how it works.

Figure 7. Fourth Langobardisaurus reconstruction.

Figure 7. Fourth Langobardisaurus P10121 reconstruction based on DGS tracings in figure 1.

References
Muscio G 1997. Preliminary note on a specimen of Prolacertiformes (Reptilia) from the Norian (Late Triassic) of Preone (Udine, north-eastern Italy). Gortania – Atti del Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale 18:33-40.
Renesto S 1994. A new prolacertiform reptile from the Late Triassic of Northern Italy. Rivista di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 100(2): 285-306.
Renesto S and Dalla Vecchia FM 2000. The unusual dentition and feeding habits of the Prolacertiform reptile Langobardisaurus (Late Triassic, Northern Italy). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20: 3. 622-627.
Renesto S and Dalla Vecchia FM 2007. A revision of Langobardisaurus rossii Bizzarini and Muscio, 1995 from the Late Triassic of Friuli (Italy)*. Rivista di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 113(2): 191-201. online pdf
Renesto S, Dalla Vecchia FM and Peters D 2002. Morphological evidence for bipedalism in the Late Triassic Prolacertiform reptile Langobardisaurus. Senckembergiana Lethaea 82(1): 95-106.
Saller F, Renesto S and Dalla Vecchia FM 2013. First record of Langobardisaurus (Diapsida, Protorosauria) from the Norian (Late Triassic) of Austria, and a revision of the genus. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie 268(1):83–95.
Wild R 1980. Tanystropheus (Reptilia: Squamata) and its importance for stratigraphy. Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France, N.S. 139:201–206.

uninisubria/Langobardisaurus
wiki/Langobardisaurus
http://reptileevolution.com/langobardisaurus.htm

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