The Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian; 309-307 Mya) 'Mazon Creek' Lagerstätte produces some of the earliest tetrapod fossils of major Palaeozoic lineages. Previously, the Mazon Creek record of lysorophians was known from a single poorly preserved specimen consisting only of a partial vertebral column. Here we describe a new, virtually complete lysorophian genus and species, Infernovenator steenae gen. & sp. nov. on the basis of a unique combination of characters, including a near complete circumorbital series and the retention of a postfrontal. Parsimony-based phylogenetic analysis placed the new taxon in the family Molgophidae, as sister to Brachydectes newberryi. Those results and the more generalized cranial morphology present in Infernovenator further support a recumbirostran origin of Molgophidae. Co-occurrence of two morphologically and functionally distinct molgophids in the Early Moscovian suggests a rapid and underappreciated diversification of this family in the Early Pennsylvanian.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Carboniferous, fossil, Microsauria, Molgophidae, Pennsylvanian, Recumbirostra
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlz026
Journal Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Citation
Mann, A. (Arjan), Pardo, J.D. (Jason D.), & Maddin, H. (2019). Infernovenator steenae, a new serpentine recumbirostran from the 'Mazon Creek' Lagerstätte further clarifies lysorophian origins. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 187(2), 506–517. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlz026