Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Canada to America: DIE, DIMETRODON! DIE!

Re-evaluation of the historic Canadian fossil Bathygnathus borealis from the Early Permian of Prince Edward Island


Brink et al


The holotype and only known specimen of Bathygnathus borealis is a partial snout with maxillary dentition of a presumed sphenacodontid from the Lower Permian (Artinskian 283–290 Ma) redbeds of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Due to its incomplete nature, assessment of the taxon’s systematic position within a cladistic analysis had never been performed. However, recent recognition of the phylogenetic utility of tooth characters in sphenacodontids now allows for a modern phylogenetic evaluation of B. borealis. Results show that B. borealis is the sister taxon of Dimetrodon grandis, which is supported by dental characters: crowns with mesial and distal denticles and roots elongate, lacking plicidentine. An autapomorphy of B. borealis is the large facial exposure of the septomaxilla. As Bathygnathus has priority over Dimetrodon in the scientific literature, we suggest a reversal of precedence is required to preserve the familiar name Dimetrodon and to maintain universality, thus recognizing the new species Dimetrodon borealis.

Actually, its an attempt to 'save' the name.  I was being a turkey.  They recommend keeping the name 'Dimetrodon' because under the rules of naming fossils, the earliest name has priority.  The Canadian specimen was named earlier than the ones Cope named.  Therefore, by the rules the genus Dimetrodon ought to become Bathygnathus.  Dimetrodon is one of those iconic names though and why they are trying to save it.  However, that didn't work for Brontosaurus (sorta) and Seismosaurus, so its unlikely to do so here.

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