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A new genus and species of the herbivorous Diadectidae, Orobates pabsti, is described on the basis of several specimens, including two complete, articulated skeletons, a skull with partial postcranium, a partial skull, and a dentigerous jaw fragment. All were collected from the Lower Permian (Wolfcampian) Tambach Formation, lowermost formational unit of the Upper Rotliegend of the Bromacker quarry locality in the midregion of the Thuringian Forest near Gotha, central Germany. A combination of autapomorphic and plesiomorphic character states clearly distinguishes O. pabsti from all other well-known members of Diadectidae and identifies it as the sister taxon to all other diadectids.
The description of Orobates pabsti expands further our understanding of the Late Pennsylvanian-Early Permian Diadectidae and records the earliest specialization of tetrapods to high-fiber herbivory.
On the basis of paleobiological and paleoenvironmental data only one other Early Permian locality is comparable to the Bro-macker locality, the somewhat younger (Leonardian) fissure fill deposits at Richards Spur, southeastern Oklahoma. This further supports the previously proposed hypothesis, based on similar grounds, that the vertebrates of both localities may have been part of a widespread, terrestrial upland faunal assemblage during the Early Permian.