A New caseid Synapsid from the Permian (Guadalupian) of the Lodève basin (Occitanie, France)
; Caseidae; France; Guadalupian; semi-aquatic lifestyle
Lalieudorhynchus gandi gen. nov. and sp. nov. is a new caseid synapsid from the Permian of the Lodève Basin, Occitanie, France. This new taxon is represented by a partial but well-preserved postcranial skeleton, and is characterized by the following apomorphies: a transverse section of the sacral and anterior caudal neural spines with a very thin keel-like process anteriorly, a slender dorsal tip of the dorsal and caudal spines, a narrow distal end of the first sacral rib, a fossa on triceps process of metacoracoid, and a very large distal tarsal 1 of same width than the astragalus, with nearly all sides being shallowly concave.
The skeleton corresponds to a sub-adult individual that was excavated from the La Lieude Formation dated as Roadian-Capitanian (Guadalupian). A sedimentological and taphonomical analysis of the type locality, together with preliminary osteohistological observations, suggest that this new French caseid was rather aquatic, as already hypothesised for other large forms.
A phylogenetic analysis of caseids is performed to test the position of this new taxon and to better understand the evolution of the clade: interestingly, Lalieudorhynchus gandi gen. nov. et sp. nov. is closer to the NorthAmerican “Cotylorhynchus” hancocki than to the other French caseids Ruthenosaurus and Euromycter from the Artinskian of the geographically closer Rodez Basin. These two last caseids document the Artinskian radiation of the clade, which remained diverse until Olson’s extinction. Caseids survived, as Lalieudorhynchus is one of the youngest representatives of the clade, and may have used novel ecological strategies to access their vegetarian food sources.