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Gorynychus masyutinae and Nochnitsa geminidens, protomammals from Russia

The fossilized teeth of two predatory species in Russia make it clear to the early evolution of mammals about the important intervals in the early evolution of mammals among mass extinctions when certain carnivorous roles change dramatically. Teams from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Raleigh and the Vyatka Paleontological Museum in Kirov reported important protomamalian findings outside Africa.

Living mammals are descended from a group of animals called therapsids as protomamals that dominate terrestrial ecosystems in the Permian Period (299-252 million years ago) or millions of years before the earliest dinosaurs appeared. These protomamalia include tusk herbivores, insectivores, and sharp-toothed predators have been found in South Africa.

Penelitian Gorynychus masyutinae and Nochnitsa geminidens, protomammals from Russia

Fossil therapsids from outside Africa are essential to enable scientists to find out whether the events observed in the fossil record protomamally represent a global or only regional pattern. Expeditions by the Vyatka Paleontological Museum have collected many Permian fossils near the town of Kotelnich along the Vyatka River in Russia.

The findings include the remains of two previously unknown predominant protomamalia species. Gorynychus masyutinae is wolf-sized carnivore that represents the largest predator in a protomamal subgroup called therocephalians, while Nochnitsa geminidens is smaller, long-legged carnivore with needle gear in a subgroup of gorgonopsians.

Gorynychus and Nochnitsa increased scientists' understanding of the reorganization of ecosystems after the Permian extinction (260 million years ago) that played a major role in shaping protomammal evolution. The Permian ecosystem has reversed the role in which Gorynychus occupies top predators.

"The big change in carnivorous roles in their ecosystems, suddenly bears the size of weasel and ferret into bear," said Christian Kammerer, a paleontologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Penelitian Gorynychus masyutinae and Nochnitsa geminidens, protomammals from Russia

New species from Russia provide the first evidence of worldwide predator rotation after the Permian extinction and not just localized in Africa. Kotelnich is one of the most important places around the world to find fossil therapsids that provide rare windows to the mammalian ancestors of the Northern Hemisphere during the Permian.

Journal :

Christian F. Kammerer and Vladimir Masyutin. A new therocephalian (Gorynychus masyutinae gen. et sp. nov.) from the Permian Kotelnich locality, Kirov Region, Russia, PeerJ, June 8, 2018, DOI:10.7717/peerj.4933

Christian F. Kammerer and Vladimir Masyutin. Gorgonopsian therapsids (Nochnitsa gen. nov. and Viatkogorgon) from the Permian Kotelnich locality of Russia, PeerJ, June 8, 2018, DOI:10.7717/peerj.4954

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