Lasasaurus beltanae nov. gen. nov. sp., a new procolophonid (Reptilia, Parareptilia) from the Lower Triassic of Madagascar, is represented by a single partial skeleton preserved in a ferro-calcareous nodule from the Middle Sakamena Formation, in the North of the island. This new taxon is unique in possessing peculiar, fine and dendritic crests running along the posterolateral side of the squamosal, widely spaced maxillary teeth, subparallel mesiodistal ridges connecting maxillary teeth to the tooth row, and a strongly acute anterior margin of the copula (hyoid bone). This well-preserved specimen belongs to a juvenile individual. The inclusion of L. beltanae nov. gen. nov. sp. in a phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is close to Theledectinae, Procolophoninae, and Leptopleurinae, though their respective relationships are uncertain. This specimen is the first procolophonid described from Madagascar and represents a minor terrestrial component of a coastal vertebrate assemblage dominated by amphibious to fully-aquatic taxa.
Middle Sakamena Formation, Karoo rift basin, Parareptilia, Procolophonia, Permo-Triassic boundary, Madagascar, Vertebrate palaeontology