Multiple tooth-rowed captorhinids from the Early Permian fissure fills of the Bally Mountain Locality of Oklahoma
Leblanc et al
Captorhinids were Paleozoic eureptiles that originated in the Late Pennsylvanian in Laurasia and dispersed across the major landmasses of Pangaea by the Late Permian. Their evolutionary success as omnivorous and herbivorous members of Permian terrestrial communities has been attributed to the evolution of multiple marginal tooth rows. Multiple tooth rows evolved at least twice within Captorhinidae: once in the omnivorous Captorhinus aguti and again in the diverse subfamily of herbivorous moradisaurines. The earliest known moradisaurines co-occured with C. aguti in Lower Permian strata of Texas; however C. aguti is also known from much older fissure fills in the famous Dolese Brothers quarry near Richards Spur, Oklahoma, suggesting that C. aguti preceded any other multiple-rowed captorhinid. Here we report on new material of multiple-rowed captorhinids from the Lower Permian fissure fills of the Bally Mountain locality in Oklahoma, only 35 miles from Richards Spur. Some of this material is referrable to Captorhinikos valensis, which was previously only known from younger strata in Texas, making this species the geologically and phylogenetically oldest moradisaurine. Furthermore, we determined that Ca. valensis co-existed with C. aguti at Bally Mountain and we explore the potential for niche partitioning in these early captorhinids. Lastly, we assess the potential temporal and environmental differences between Bally Mountain and Richards Spur, in order to explain the abundance of herbivorous moradisaurines at Bally Mountain and the complete lack of moradisaurines at the neighbouring Richards Spur locality.