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Keywords:

  • Reptilia;
  • Diapsida;
  • Eosuchia;
  • Squamata;
  • functional morphology;
  • new taxa

The skull ol a new fossil reptile, Gephyrosaurus bridensis gen. et sp. Nov. is described. The description is based on a large collection of isolated, but well preserved skull bones from mammal-bearing fissure infills of Lower Jurassic age. The skull is diapsid with an incomplete lower temporal arcade and a fixed quadrate. Comparison with earlier non-archosaurian diapsid reptiles indicates that Gephyrosaurus is a member of the Eosuchia, an infraclass of the subclass Diapsida. The taxonomy of the Eosuchia and Squamata is discussed briefly and the use of streptostvly as a diagnostic squamate character is reviewed. Several Permian and Triassic genera, including Paliguana, Tanystropheus and Kuehneosaurus, which were previously classified as squamates, are eosuchians.

Gephyrosaurus was a small insectivore with large eyes and good hearing. It was diurnal and did not compete with the contemporary mammals Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, which were nocturnal.