New Information of the Cynodont Boreogomphodon jeffersoni from the Newark Supergroup

One of the bigger Triassic mysteries is why cynodonts are so common in the Newark Supergroup, while completely lacking in the presumably contemporaneous Chinle Formation (despite what you saw on 'Walking With Dinosaurs').

Sues, H.-D., and J. A. Hopson. 2010. Anatomy and phylogenetic relationships of Boreogomphodon jeffersoni (Cynodontia: Gomphodontia) from the Upper Triassic of Virginia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30:1202 – 1220. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2010.483545

Abstract - We present a detailed account on the skeletal structure of the traversodont cynodont Boreogomphodon jeffersoni on the basis of a considerable quantity of excellently preserved craniodental remains and several referred postcranial bones from the Tomahawk Creek Member of the Vinita Formation (Upper Triassic: Carnian) of the Richmond basin (Newark Supergroup) in eastern Virginia. The small size, proportionately short snout and mandible, low number of molariform postcanine teeth, and presence of up to three sectorial postcanines all indicate that most of the specimens recovered to date represent immature individuals. The superbly preserved dental material permits detailed inferences regarding tooth replacement and dental function during ontogeny. Boreogomphodon differs from other known traversodont cynodonts primarily in the possession of lower molariform postcanine teeth with three rather than two anterior cusps in all but the smallest specimens, zygomatic arches that are bowed laterally at about mid-length, and pronounced, irregular sculpturing on the dorsal surface of the snout. Plesiomorphic features of traversodont cynodonts retained by Boreogomphodon include the position of the paracanine fossa anterolingual to the upper canine as well as the presence of a distinct central cusp and a posterior cingulum on the upper molariform postcanines. Phylogenetic analysis suggests the existence of a clade comprising Boreogomphodon plus two other taxa (Arctotraversodon and Nanogomphodon) in the Northern Hemisphere that is the sister group to most other known Middle and Late Triassic traversodonts from Gondwana.


  1. Different environment? Not as in geological but rather biome?

  2. Maybe but they have similar pollen, so the flora is close but not the fauna.

  3. It sounds like the fauna has a different origin. Laurasia vs Gondwana.

    What do the isotopes and mineral deposits indicate? Are they similar in aridity? Paleosols have given hints, iirc, about temperature and humidity. Are there any good samples? What about altitude?


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