Taxonomic status of the reptile genus Procolophon from the Gondwanan Triassic

Cisneros, Juan Carlos
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Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand
The specific composition of the genus Procolophon in Brazil, South Africa and Antarctica is discussed in the light of new data. It is found that P. pricei and P. brasiliensis, two species described from Brazil, fit within the pattern of ontogenetic variation of the type species P. trigoniceps, and they are here considered junior synonyms. The South African species P. laticeps, characterized by the presence of a temporal fenestra, is no longer considered valid. The peculiar temporal openings of this species are regarded here as an anomalous condition without taxonomic significance. The only complete skull known from Antarctica shows a unique feature consisting of an elliptical depression in the palate. The interpretation of this structure is ambiguous because it may also be attributable to individual variation, and this specimen is provisionally kept within P. trigoniceps. Therefore, only the type species, P. trigoniceps, is recognized in Gondwana. This species occupies a wide geographic range, from the Paraná Basin to the Transantarctic Mountains.
Procolophonidae, Procolophon, temporal fenestrae, Triassic, Gondwana