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Proc Biol Sci. 2010 Jan 22;277(1679):285-92. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0883. Epub 2009 Jul 29.

A new specimen of Biseridens qilianicus indicates its phylogenetic position as the most basal anomodont.

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Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, People's Republic of China.


A new well-preserved basal therapsid skull from the Xidagou Formation, Middle Permian of China, is identified as Biseridens qilianicus. The following synapomorphies distinguish Biseridens as an anomodont and not an eotitanosuchian as previously described: short snout; dorsally elevated zygomatic arch and septomaxilla lacking elongated posterodorsal process between nasal and maxilla. The presence of a differentiated tooth row; denticles on vomer, palatine and pterygoid; contact between tabular and opisthotic; lateral process of transverse flange of pterygoid free of posterior ramus and absence of mandibular foramen exclude it from other anomodonts. Our cladistic analysis indicates Biseridens to be the most basal anomodont, highlights separate Laurasian and Gondwanan basal anomodont clades and suggests that dicynodonts had their origins in the Gondwanan clade. The co-occurrence of the most basal anomodont (Biseridens) together with the most basal therapsid (Raranimus), basal anteosaurid dinocephalians, bolosaurids and dissorophids suggests that the earliest therapsid faunas are from China.

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