SCANFERLA Carlos Agustin
The skull of the Upper Cretaceous snake Dinilysia patagonica Smith-Woodward, 1901, and its phylogenetic position revisited
HUSSAM ZAHER; CARLOS AGUSTÍN SCANFERLA
ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Lugar: Londres; Año: 2012 vol. 164 p. 194 - 238
The cranial anatomy of Dinilysia patagonica, a terrestrial snake from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina, is redescribed and illustrated, based on high-resolution X-ray computed tomography and better preparations made on previously known specimens, including the holotype. Previously unreported characters reinforce the intriguing mosaic nature of the skull of Dinilysia, with a suite of plesiomorphic and apomorphic characters with respect toextant snakes. Newly recognized plesiomorphies are the absence of the medial vertical flange of the nasal, lateral position of the prefrontal, lizard-like contact between vomer and palatine, floor of the recessus scalae tympani formed by the basioccipital, posterolateral corners of the basisphenoid strongly ventrolaterally projected, and absence of a medial parietal pillar separating the telencephalon and mesencephalon, amongst others. We alsoreinterpreted the structures forming the otic region of Dinilysia, confirming the presence of a crista circumfenestralis, which represents an important derived ophidian synapomorphy. Both plesiomorphic and apomorphic traits of Dinilysia are treated in detail and illustrated accordingly. Results of a phylogenetic analysis support a basal position of Dinilysia, as the sister-taxon to all extant snakes. The fossil taxa Yurlunggur, Haasiophis, Eupodophis,Pachyrhachis, and Wonambi appear as derived snakes nested within the extant clade Alethinophidia, as stem-taxa to the crown-clade Macrostomata. The hypothesis of a sister-group relationship between Dinilysia and Najash rionegrina, as suggested by some authors, is rejected by the results of our analysis.