We present a detailed account on the skeletal structure of the traversodont cynodont Boreogomphodon jeffersoni on the basis of a considerable quantity of excellently preserved craniodental remains and several referred postcranial bones from the Tomahawk Creek Member of the Vinita Formation (Upper Triassic: Carnian) of the Richmond basin (Newark Supergroup) in eastern Virginia. The small size, proportionately short snout and mandible, low number of molariform postcanine teeth, and presence of up to three sectorial postcanines all indicate that most of the specimens recovered to date represent immature individuals. The superbly preserved dental material permits detailed inferences regarding tooth replacement and dental function during ontogeny. Boreogomphodon differs from other known traversodont cynodonts primarily in the possession of lower molariform postcanine teeth with three rather than two anterior cusps in all but the smallest specimens, zygomatic arches that are bowed laterally at about mid-length, and pronounced, irregular sculpturing on the dorsal surface of the snout. Plesiomorphic features of traversodont cynodonts retained by Boreogomphodon include the position of the paracanine fossa anterolingual to the upper canine as well as the presence of a distinct central cusp and a posterior cingulum on the upper molariform postcanines. Phylogenetic analysis suggests the existence of a clade comprising Boreogomphodon plus two other taxa (Arctotraversodon and Nanogomphodon) in the Northern Hemisphere that is the sister group to most other known Middle and Late Triassic traversodonts from Gondwana.
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Vol. 30 • No. 4