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Non-mammalian synapsids were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates from the Late Carboniferous to the Middle Triassic and play a key role in understanding the origin and evolution of mammals. Despite these facts and the outstanding fossil record of the group, early synapsids remain obscure.
Early Evolutionary History of the Synapsida showcases the full breadth of contemporary research on non-mammalian synapsids, ranging from taxonomy and phylogenetics to functional morphology, biogeography, paleoecology, and patterns of diversity. It also underscores the importance and potential of studying non-mammalian synapsid paleobiology in its own right, not just in the context of mammalian evolution.
Part I. "Pelycosaur"-grade Synapsids
1. Introduction Robert R. Reisz
2. New Information on the Basal Pelycosaurian-grade Synapsid Oedaleops Stuart S. Sumida, Valerie Pelletier, and David S Berman
3. Was Ophiacodon (Synapsida: Eupelycosauria) a Swimmer? A Test Using Vertebral Dimensions Ryan N. Felice and Kenneth D. Angielczyk
4. Postcranial Description and Reconstruction of the Varanodontine Varanopid Aerosaurus wellesi (Synapsida: Eupelycosauria) Valerie Pelletier
5. First European Record of a Varanodontine (Synapsida: Varanopidae): Member of a Unique Early Permian Upland Paleoecosystem, Tambach Basin, Central Germany David S Berman, Amy C. Henrici, Stuart S. Sumida, Thomas Martens, and Valerie Pelletier
Part II. Anomodontia
6. Introduction Jorg Frobisch
7. Permian and Triassic Dicynodont (Therapsida: Anomodontia) Faunas of the Luangwa Basin, Zambia: Update and Implications for Dicynodont Biogeography and Biostratigraphy Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Jean-Sebastien Steyer, Christian A. Sidor, Roger M. H. Smith, Robin L. Whatley, and Stephen Tolan
8. Anatomical Plasticity in the Snout of Lystrosaurus Sandra C. Jasinoski, Michael A. Cluver, Anusuya Chinsamy, and B. Daya Reddy
9. Pathological Features in Upper Permian and Middle Triassic Dicynodonts (Synapsida, Therapsida) Cristina Silveira Vega and Michael W. Maisch
Part III. Theriodontia
10. Introduction Christian F. Kammerer
11. A Redescription of Eriphostoma microdon Broom, 1911 (Therapsida, Gorgonopsia) from the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone of South Africa and a Review of Middle Permian Gorgonopsians Christian F. Kammerer
12. Re-assessment of the Taxonomic Position of the Specimen GPIT/RE/7113 (Sauroctonus parringtoni comb. nov., Gorgonopsia) Eva V. I. Gebauer
13. New Material of Microgomphodon oligocynus (Eutherapsida, Therocephalia) and the Taxonomy of Southern African Bauriidae Fernando Abdala, Tea Jashashvili, Bruce S. Rubidge, and Juri van den Heever
14. The Traversodontid Cynodont Mandagomphodon hirschsoni from the Middle Triassic of the Ruhuhu Valley, Tanzania James A. Hopson
15. Phylogeny and Taxonomy of the Traversodontidae Jun Liu and Fernando Abdala
Part IV. Therapsid Diversity Patterns and the End-Permian Extinction
16. Introduction Kenneth D. Angielczyk
17. Vertebrate Paleontology of Nooitgedacht 68: A Lystrosaurus maccaigi-rich Permo-Triassic Boundary Locality in South Africa Jennifer Botha-Brink, Adam K. Huttenlocker, and Sean P. Modesto
18. Synapsid Diversity and the Rock Record in the Permian-Triassic Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup), South Africa Jorg Frobisch
Christian F. Kammerer received his B.A. in Biological Sciences and his M.S. and PhD. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago. He has studied as a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, New York and the Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin. His research focuses on the systematics of Permo-Triassic synapsids and the evolutionary processes underlying the origin of mammals.
Kenneth D. Angielczyk received a B.S. in Biology and Geology from the University of Michigan and a PhD. In Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2007, After working as a postdoctoral researcher at the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Bristol, he was appointed as the Assistant Curator of Paleomammalogy at the Field Museum of Natural History. His research focuses on the taxonomy, phylogenetics, paleobiology, and paleoecology of dicynodont therapsids, and how terrestrial tetrapod communities were affected by the end-Permian mass extinction.
Jörg Fröbisch is Professor for Paleobiology and Evolution at the Humboldt Universitat and Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin. He received a Diplom (M.Sc. equivalent) in Geology/Paleontology from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn and a PhD. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the patterns of diversification, phylogeny, and paleobiology of synapsids, as well as trends in the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems and the impact of mass extinction events on terrestrial vertebrate ecosystems.