Abstract

A new colosteid, Deltaherpeton hiemstrae gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Mississippian Upper Viséan site at Delta, Iowa. Deltaherpeton is represented by a skull roof and both jaws. The new taxon is unique among colosteids in having an internasal and single midline postparietal. An additional midline pair of cf. ‘interfrontonasals’ may be present. Characters previously used to define the colosteids are reviewed and a refined diagnosis for the family Colosteidae is presented. Synapomorphies which unite Deltaherpeton, Colosteus, Greererpeton, and Pholidogaster as Colosteidae are: premaxilla with fang pair; dentary with notch for receipt of premaxillary fang; mandible with single elongate exomeckelian fenestra; pre-narial infraorbital lateral line terminating at ventral margin of premaxilla just anterior to external naris; and post-narial infraorbital lateral line terminating at the ventral margin of the maxilla just posterior to the external naris. Our review of dermal bones in the colosteid snout concludes that no specimen is sufficiently free of distortions or breakage to indicate clearly whether or not the prefrontal borders the external naris, or that an anterior tectal is present. The morphology of Deltaherpeton and the revised data presented for colosteids do not clarify the relationship of colosteids to other early tetrapods.

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