Infernovenator steenae gen. & sp. nov.
Arjan Mann, ÂJason D. Pardo & ÂHillary C. Maddin (2019)
Infernovenator steenae, a new serpentine recumbirostran from the âMazon Creekâ LagertÃtte further clarifies lysorophian origins.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, zlz026 (advance online publication)
The Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian; 309â307 Mya) 'Mazon Creek' LagerstÃtte 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.