Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Palaeontologia Africana 44 (December 2009), pp. 21-26.


Copyright © 2009 Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Procynosuchus, the best-known Permian cynodont, has a remarkably broad geographic range, with records stretching from southern Africa to Europe. Fossils' of Procynosuchus are most common in the Upper Permian Dicynodon Assemblage Zone of South Africa, but also occur in coeval East African rocks. Currently, there is one documented occurrence from the Madumabisa Mudstone Formation of Zambia, and two specimens from the Usili (=Kawinga) Formation of Tanzania. The Tanzanian specimens include a poorly preserved, incomplete skull and a partial cranium originally attributed to Parathrinaxodon proops. The latter is now considered a subjective junior synonym of Procynosuchus delaharpeae. Here we report on a new specimen collected in 2007 near the base of Kingori Mountain in Tanzania. It preserves the postorbital region of the skull and the posterior portions of both lower jaws, each containing several intact teeth. A well-preserved postcanine tooth exhibits the dental hallmarks of Procynosuchus and permits unambiguous referral to this taxon. Recent fieldwork corroborates previous suggestions that the Usili tetrapod fauna includes representatives of the Tropidostoma, Cistecephalus and Dicynodon assemblage zones of South Africa. Moreover, the presence of several endemic Usili taxa (e.g. Katumbia, Kawingasaurus, Peitobatrachus), suggests that a straightforward correlation between the Usili tetrapod fauna and a particular assemblage zone from the Beaufort Group may not be possible.