Three capitosaurs from the Triassic of South Africa: Parotosuchus africanus (Broom 1909); Kestrosaurus dreyeri Haughton 1925, and Parotosuchus dirus sp. Nov.

Chernin, Sharon
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
Two members of the family Capitosauridae are redescribed after further preparation, namely Paratosuchus africanus (Broom 1909) and Kestrasaurus dreyeri Haughton, 1925. New material consisting of a fragmental, lower jaw or a very large parotosaur from the Cynognathus zone of Aliwal North is described, upon which a new species, Parotosuchus dirus, is erected. Paratosuchus africanus (Broom 1909) from the Cynognathus zone of Vaalbank, Albert, Cape Province, is redescribed and figured for the first time. It consists of most of the postorbital regions of the skull associated with part or the left lower jaw which are fairly well preserved and capable of being directly compared with the same parts of other taxa. Thus it is reconfirmed a valid member of the family Capitosauridae. Kestrosaurul dreyeri is re-examined and found to consist of large areas of plaster of Paris in which the original bone has been embedded. The entire skull could be about 5 cm shorter than the original reconstruction. The position and shape of the orbits are not preserved and the reconstructed lateral position found in the specimen is arbitrary. The parietal foramen is also not preserved. The nature of the preserved palate and occipital area indicates that the material probably represents a primitive member of the family Capitosauridae, not only stratrigraphically ( Lystrosaurus zone), but also morphologically. The taxonomic designation established by Welles and Cosgriff (1965) is retained. Kestrosaurus remains an enigma because it also displays certain trematosaurid characters. A partial capitosaurid jaw from the Cynognathus zone of Aliwal North, Cape Province, is also described which when reconstructed represents one of the largest amphibians found in Southern Africa. Comparisons are made with Parotosuchus pronus (Howie 1970) and Parotosuchus megarhinus (Chernin and Cosgriff 1975), which share a few similar characteristics. It is suggested that the amphibian represented by this jaw may be ancestral to both P. pronus and P. megarhinus. Based on substantial morphological differences in the symphysial and articular regions between this jaw and those of the above-mentioned parotosaurs, it is hereby proposed to erect a new species, Paratosuchus dirus (dirus = Latin: fearful), for this material.
Main article
Cynognathus zone; Parotosuchus; Triassic