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Temporal range: Anisian
~247–242  Ma
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Clade: Therapsida
Clade: Cynodontia
Family: Diademodontidae
Genus: Titanogomphodon
Keyser, 1973
Type species
T. crassus
Keyser, 1973

Titanogomphodon is an extinct genus of diademodontid cynodonts from the Middle Triassic Omingonde Formation of Namibia. It is known from a single partial skull that was described in 1973 from the Omingonde Formation. The type and only species is Titanogomphodon crassus. At about 40 centimetres (16 in), the skull of Titanogomphodon was significantly larger than that of its closest relative, Diademodon (hundreds of skulls of Diademodon are known and none exceed 29 centimetres (11 in) in length). [1] Its teeth are similar to those of another group of cynodonts called Traversodontidae, but the similarities are likely the result of convergent evolution. [2] Aside from its larger size, Titanogomphodon differs from Diademodon in having a bony projection on the postorbital bar behind the eye socket. [1]



Like Diademodon, Titanogomphodon was probably herbivorous. It is part of a very diverse fossil assemblage in the Omingonde Formation that includes several other types of cynodonts, including Diademodon, Cynognathus , and Trirachodon , as well as other therapsids such as Dolichuranus and Herpetogale . The Omingonde assemblage was part of a larger continental fauna that ranged across much of Gondwana during the Middle Triassic. [3]

Other finds

An isolated upper jaw of a diademodontid described from the Fremouw Formation of Antarctica in 1995 was suggested to potentially belong to Titanogomphodon based on its large size. However, since the only known fossil of Titanogomphodon is a lower jaw, the two specimens cannot be assigned with certainty to the same taxon. [4] In 2021, the specimen was assigned to a new species of trirachodontid, Impidens hancoxi , which reached an even larger size than Titanogomphodon. [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cynodont</span> Clade of therapsids

The cynodonts are a clade of eutheriodont therapsids that first appeared in the Late Permian, and extensively diversified after the Permian–Triassic extinction event. Cynodonts occupied a variety of ecologies, including as carnivores and herbivores. Mammals are cynodonts, as are their extinct ancestors and close relatives, having evolved from advanced probainognathian cynodonts during the Late Triassic. All other cynodont lines went extinct, with the last known non-mammalian cynodont group, the Tritylodontidae, having its youngest records in the Early Cretaceous.

<i>Chiniquodon</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Chiniquodon is an extinct genus of carnivorous cynodonts, which lived during the Late Triassic (Carnian) in South America and Africa. Chiniquodon was closely related to the genus Aleodon, and close to the ancestry of mammals.

<i>Massetognathus</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Massetognathus is an extinct genus of plant-eating traversodontid cynodonts. They lived during the Triassic Period about 235 million years ago, and are known from the Chañares Formation in Argentina and the Santa Maria Formation in Brazil.

<i>Cynognathus</i> Assemblage Zone Biozone which correlates to the Burgersdorp Formation of the Beaufort Group

The Cynognathus Assemblage Zone is a tetrapod biozone utilized in the Karoo Basin of South Africa. It is equivalent to the Burgersdorp Formation, the youngest lithostratigraphic formation in the Beaufort Group, which is part of the fossiliferous and geologically important Karoo Supergroup. The Cynognathus Assemblage Zone is the youngest of the eight biozones found in the Beaufort Group, and is considered to be late Early Triassic (Olenekian) to early Middle Triassic (Anisian) in age. The name of the biozone refers to Cynognathus crateronotus, a large and carnivorous cynodont therapsid which occurs throughout the entire biozone.

The Fremouw Formation is a Triassic-age rock formation in the Transantarctic Mountains of Antarctica. It contains the oldest known fossils of tetrapods from Antarctica, including synapsids, reptiles and amphibians. Fossilized trees have also been found. The formation's beds were deposited along the banks of rivers and on floodplains. During the Triassic, the area would have been a riparian forest at 70–75°S latitude.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elliot Formation</span> Lithostratigraphic layer of the Stormberg Group in South Africa

The Elliot Formation is a geological formation and forms part of the Stormberg Group, the uppermost geological group that comprises the greater Karoo Supergroup. Outcrops of the Elliot Formation have been found in the northern Eastern Cape, southern Free State, and in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa. Outcrops and exposures are also found in several localities in Lesotho such as Qacha's Neck, Hill Top, Quthing, and near the capital, Maseru. The Elliot Formation is further divided into the lower (LEF) and upper (UEF) Elliot formations to differentiate significant sedimentological differences between these layers. The LEF is dominantly Late Triassic (Norian-Hettangian) in age while the UEF is mainly Early Jurassic (Sinemurian-Pliensbachian) and is tentatively regarded to preserve a continental record of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in southern Africa. This geological formation is named after the town of Elliot in the Eastern Cape, and its stratotype locality is located on the Barkly Pass, 9 km north of the town.

<i>Microgomphodon</i> Genus of therapsid from the Middle Triassic of southern Africa

Microgomphodon is an extinct genus of therocephalian therapsid from the Middle Triassic of South Africa and Namibia. Currently only one species of Microgomphodon, M. oligocynus, is recognized. With fossils present in the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone (CAZ) of the Burgersdorp Formation in South Africa and Omingonde Formation of Namibia and ranging in age from late Olenekian to Anisian, it is one of the most geographically and temporally widespread therocephalian species. Moreover, its occurrence in the upper Omigonde Formation of Namibia makes Microgomphodon the latest-surviving therocephalian. Microgomphodon is a member of the family Bauriidae and a close relative of Bauria, another South African bauriid from the CAZ. Like other bauriids, it possesses several mammal-like features such as a secondary palate and broad, molar-like postcanine teeth, all of which evolved independently from mammals.

<i>Trirachodon</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Trirachodon is an extinct genus of cynodonts. Fossils have been found in the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group in South Africa and the Omingonde Formation of Namibia, dating back to the Early and Middle Triassic.

<i>Lumkuia</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Lumkuia is an extinct genus of cynodonts, fossils of which have been found in the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group in the South African Karoo Basin that date back to the early Middle Triassic. It contains a single species, Lumkuia fuzzi, which was named in 2001 on the basis of the holotype specimen BP/1/2669, which can now be found at the Bernard Price Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. The genus has been placed in its own family, Lumkuiidae. Lumkuia is not as common as other cynodonts from the same locality such as Diademodon and Trirachodon.

<i>Diademodon</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Diademodon is an extinct genus of cynodonts. It was about 2 metres (6.6 ft) long.

Pascualgnathus is an extinct genus of traversodontid cynodonts from the Middle Triassic of Argentina. Fossils have been found from the Río Seco de la Quebrada Formation of the Puesto Viejo Group. The type species P. polanskii was named in 1966.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manda Formation</span>

The Manda Formation is a Middle Triassic (Anisian?) or possibly Late Triassic (Carnian?) geologic formation in Tanzania. It preserves fossils of many terrestrial vertebrates from the Triassic, including some of the earliest dinosauromorph archosaurs. The formation is often considered to be Anisian in age according to general tetrapod biochronology hypotheses and correlations to the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone of South Africa. However, some recent studies cast doubt to this age, suggesting that parts deposits may actually be younger (Carnian) in age.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diademodontidae</span> Family of gomphodontian cynodonts

Diademodontidae is an extinct family of Triassic gomphodonts. The best-known genus is Diademodon from South Africa. Titanogomphodon from Namibia may also be a member of Diademodontidae. The Chinese genera Hazhenia and Ordosiodon have also been included in the family, but were more recently identified as baurioid therocephalians. Remains of a diademodontid were reported in the Early-Middle Triassic Fremouw Formation in Antarctica, but that specimen was later referred to the trirachodontid Impidens

<i>Aleodon</i> Extinct genus of cynodonts

Aleodon is an extinct genus of cynodonts that lived from the Middle to the Late Triassic. Relatively few analyses have been conducted to identify the phylogenetic placement of Aleodon, however those that have place Aleodon as a sister taxon to Chiniquodon. Two species of Aleodon are recognized: A. brachyramphus which was discovered in Tanzania, and A. cromptoni which was discovered most recently in Brazil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Omingonde Formation</span>

The Omingonde Formation is an Early to Middle Triassic geologic formation, part of the Karoo Supergroup, in the western Otjozondjupa Region and northeastern Erongo Region of north-central Namibia. The formation has a maximum thickness of about 600 metres (2,000 ft) and comprises sandstones, shales, siltstones and conglomerates, was deposited in a fluvial environment, alternating between a meandering and braided river setting.

<i>Ufudocyclops</i> Extinct genus of dicynodonts

Ufudocyclops is an extinct genus of stahleckeriid dicynodont from the Middle Triassic of South Africa. It was found in the Burgersdorp Formation, part of the uppermost Cynognathus Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group in the Karoo Basin. The type and only known species is U. mukanelai. It was a large, beaked herbivore like other Triassic dicynodonts, lacking tusks, and is mostly characterised by unique features of the skull. It is known from three specimens, two of which were previously referred to the Tanzanian dicynodont Angonisaurus. The separation of Ufudocyclops from Angonisaurus indicates that the Middle Triassic fauna of the Beaufort Group in South Africa was not part of a larger shared fauna with those of the Manda Beds in Tanzania, as was previously supposed, and suggests that they were separated as more localised faunas, possibly by geographic barriers or in time. Ufudocyclops then would have been a unique part of the uppermost Cynognathus Assemblage Zone in South Africa. It is also the oldest known member of the family Stahleckeriidae, and implies that the family was already diversifying in the Middle Triassic alongside other kannemeyeriiforms, not just in the Late Triassic after other families died out.

The Río Seco de la Quebrada Formation is a Triassic geological formation in Mendoza Province, Argentina. Fossils of cynodonts such as Cynognathus, Diademodon, and Pascualgnathus have been found in this formation, along with dicynodonts such as Vinceria and Acratophorus. Based on biostratigraphy, the Río Seco de la Quebrada Formation is considered to have formed during the Anisian stage, as it shares fauna with the upper subzones of the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone in South Africa. However, radiometric dating controversially argues that it was deposited during the early Carnian stage, 10 million years younger than expected otherwise.

Scalenodontoides is an extinct genus of traversodontidae, a family of herbivorous cynodonts. It lived during the Late Triassic in what is now South Africa. Its type species is Scalenodontoides macrodontes. It was named in 1957 by A. W. Crompton and F. Ellenberger. Arctotraversodon plemmyrodon was originally classified as a species of Scalenodontoides, but was given its own genus in 1992. It is found in the Scalenodontoides Assemblage Zone of the Elliot Formation, which is named for it. It is one of the geologically youngest traversodontids, alongside the putative traversodontid Boreogomphodon. It is closely related to Exaeretodon and Siriusgnathus, but is distinguished by the presence of a shelf-like expansion of its parietal called the nuchal table. Though the largest known complete skull is only 248 millimetres (9.8 in) long, it may have been the largest non-mammaliaform cynodont, as an incomplete snout would have belonged to a specimen with an estimated skull length of 617 millimetres (24.3 in).

Impidens is an extinct genus of large omnivorous cynodont from the Triassic of South Africa and Antarctica. Its type and only species is Impidens hancoxi. Impidens inhabited high-latitude environments of southern Gondwana during the Middle Triassic, where it was probably the apex predator.


  1. 1 2 Martinelli, A. N. G.; Fuente, M. D. L.; Abdala, F. (2009). "Diademodon tetragonus Seeley, 1894 (Therapsida: Cynodontia) in the Triassic of South America and its biostratigraphic implications". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (3): 852. doi:10.1671/039.029.0315.
  2. Keyser, A.W. (1973). "A new Triassic vertebrate fauna from South West Africa" (PDF). Palaeontologica Africana. 16: 1–15.
  3. Abdala, F.; Smith, R. M. H. (2009). "A Middle Triassic cynodont fauna from Namibia and its implications for the biogeography of Gondwana". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (3): 837. doi:10.1671/039.029.0303.
  4. Hammer, W. R. (1995). "New Therapsids from the Upper Fremouw Formation (Triassic) of Antarctica". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 15: 105–112. doi:10.1080/02724634.1995.10011210.
  5. Tolchard, Frederick; Kammerer, Christian F.; Butler, Richard J.; Hendrickx, Christophe; Benoit, Julien; Abdala, Fernando; Choiniere, Jonah N. (2021-07-26). "A new large gomphodont from the Triassic of South Africa and its implications for Gondwanan biostratigraphy". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: e1929265. doi:10.1080/02724634.2021.1929265. ISSN   0272-4634.