[D] Dracovenator regenti [Su] [sG] [T]
Yates ( 2006 for 2005)
Jurassic Early Hettangian Sinemurian
Saurischia Theropoda Incertae Sedis
Upper Elliot Formation, South Africa
Genus - Typespecies - Skull
Yates, A.M. (2006 for 2005). A new theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and its implications for the early evolution of theropods. Palaeontologia africana 41, 105-122.
A new theropod, Dracovenator regenti, from the upper Elliot Formation is described, based upon a fragmentary skull. It can be diagnosed on the basis of a bilobed fossa on the lateral surface of the premaxilla that is connected to the alveolar margin by a narrow channel, the presence of a deep, oblique, lateral notch on the articular and hypertrophied dorsal processes on the articular.
Other aspects of its morphology display a mosaic of coelophysoid and advanced theropod characteristics.
It also finds that Coelophysoidea sensu lato is paraphyletic with respect to Ceratosauria + Tetanurae but that this topology is not a significantly better explanation of the data than an inclusive, monophyletic Coelophysoidea.
BP/1/5243, fragmentary skull.
Draco, dragon (Latin); venator, hunter (Latin), refers to both its probable habit of preying on prosauropod dinosaurs and its location in the foothills of the Drakensberg (Dutch: Dragon’s Mountain)
Range. Species name honours the late Regent ‘Lucas’ Huma, Prof. Kitching’s long-term field assistant and friend.
A theropod with the following autapomorphic characters: a large bilobed fossa surrounding a large lateral premaxillary foramen that is connected to the alveolar margin by a deep narrow channel; a deep, oblique notch on the lateral surface of the articular, separating the retroarticular process from the posterior margin of the glenoid; and particularly well-developed dorsal, tab-like processes on the articular, one on the medial side, just posterior to the opening of the chorda tympanic foramen and the other on the lateral side on the anterolateral margin of the fossa for the m. depressor mandibulae.
It most closely resembles Dilophosaurus wetherilli and Zupaysaurus rougieri but can be further distinguished from the former (apart from the presence of the autapomorphies described above) by: the presence of a raised ventral margin of the antorbital fossa placed close to the alveolar margin of the maxilla; the presence of unfused, triangular interdental plates on the maxilla; and the lack of a large transversely arched diastema behind the premaxillary row of teeth. It can be further distinguished from Zupaysaurus rougieri by the probable presence of a rectangular anterior ramus of the maxilla offset from the ascending ramus by a prominent inflection.
Considering other taxa of coelophysoid grade it can be distinguished from: Procompsognathus triassicus, Segisaurus halli, Coelophysis bauri, Syntarsus rhodesiensis and ‘Syntarsus’ kayentakatae by its greater adult body size; from Liliensternus liliensterni, Coelophysis bauri and [C. rhodesiensis - Syntarsus rhodesiensis] by its probable rectangular anterior ramus of the maxilla; and from Coelophysis bauri, Syntarsus rhodesiensis and ‘Syntarsus’ kayentakatae by its buccolingually compressed and serrated premaxillary teeth.
It can be distinguished from the unusual, and poorly described, theropod ‘Dilophosaurus’ sinensis by the elongate acutely angled body of the premaxilla, the retraction of the external naris to a level posterior to the last premaxillary tooth and the presence of only four premaxillary teeth.