The postcranium of the carnivorous cynodont Chiniquodon from the Middle Triassic of Namibia and the palaeo-environment of the Upper Omingonde Formation
Mocke, Helke Brigitte
The Chiniquodontidae is a family of Triassic carnivorous cynodonts well represented in the Middle-Upper Triassic of Argentina and Brazil. Chiniquodontids were more recently discovered in Madagascar and central Namibia, representing the only record of the family outside South America. The Namibian specimen was discovered in the Upper Omingonde Formation and is represented by the skull and a partial skeleton. The new chiniquodontid was identified as Chiniquodon and is diagnosed by the postcranial characteristics identified; a strong bend in the proximal portion of thoracic ribs, reduced curvature of the clavicle, although this may be due to deformation, robustness of the neck of the ilium, differences in the angulation between the edge of the posterior lamina of the ilium and the margin of the neck, and a large ischium, which is more than twice the size of the pubic plate. The postcranial material of the chiniquodontid from Namibia is described and compared with that of South American chiniquodontids. Chiniquodontids lack costal plates on ribs, show a tall and slender scapular blade, a large acromion process positioned well above the scapular neck and absence of disc-like phalanges in the autopodium. The Namibian Chiniquodon provides the first evidence of elements from the pes in chiniquodontids, and one of the few for non-mammaliaform cynodonts. Sedimentological studies confirm that the Upper Omingonde Formation of Namibia represents fluvial deposits of braided and meandering rivers formed in a predominately arid climatic regime during the Middle Triassic.
A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science Johannesburg, 2015