Carpathotriton, Venczel, 2008

Venczel, Márton & Stiuc, Emanoil, 2008, Late middle Miocene amphibians and squamate reptiles from Taut ,, Romania, Geodiversitas 30 (4), pp. 731-763: 736-738

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Carpathotriton   sp. ( Fig. 3 View FIG )

MATERIAL EXAMINED. — One frontal ( ISER Tt-0330), one squamosal ( ISER Tt-0331), six angulo-prearticulars ( ISER Tt-0333/1-6), two dentaries ( ISER Tt-0332/1 and 2), six atlases ( ISER Tt-0334/1-6), 35 presacral vertebrae ( ISER Tt-0335/1-35), four humeri ( ISER Tt-0336/1-4), one ischium ( ISER Tt-0337), three femurs ( ISER Tt-0338/1-3).



The dorsal surface is smooth except some sculpture near the supraorbital margin. The anterior portion of the dorsal surface exhibits a groove bordered by two ridges suggesting a contact with the dorsal proc-

ess of the premaxillary ( Fig. 3A View FIG ). The posterolateral

Late middle Miocene amphibians and reptiles from Taut,, Romania

process of the frontal is broken off but we assume that it might have been rather long and formed a complete fronto-squamosal arch. A low crest runs from the medial margin of the posterolateral process toward the posteromedial margin of the frontal

delimiting a less elevated posterior area. Squamosal

The ventral ramus is relatively long, while the anterior ramus is somewhat shorter than the posterior one ( Fig. 3B View FIG , B’). The anterior ramus is widened distally for the articulation with the posterolateral

process of the frontal.

Venczel M. & Ştiucă E.


The bone is elongated and provided with a moderately low coronoid process; the lateral flange is low and borders the Meckel’s groove lingually ( Fig. 3C View FIG ).


The only specimen (ISER Tt-0332/1) is rather fragmentary with the anterior and posterior portions broken off. The dental row is extremely short when compared to the toothless posterior ramus, a feature that is unparalleled in other salamandrids ( Fig. 3D View FIG ).


In anterior view, the articular surfaces are faintly convex and circular in shape. The odontoid process is relatively wide and slightly concave dorsally; the atlantal cotyle is circular in shape.

Presacral vertebrae

All the vertebrae are opisthocoelous and provided with spinal nerve foramina. The neural arch is vaulted and provided with an extremely high neural spine (in most specimens it is completely broken off) ( Fig. 3 View FIG E-F’). The subcentral lamina projects ventrolaterally and is connected to the lower rib bearer (= parapophysys); the subcentral foramina are of variable size. The transverse processes are widely spaced while the rib articulating surface is

relatively small and rounded. Humerus

The head of the humerus is moderately widened and connected to a well-defined ventral humeral crest. The dorsal humeral crest is weakly defined forming a triangular bony lamina.The humeral shaft is elongated and slender with the distal extremity moderately widened ( Fig. 3G View FIG , G’).


In lateral view the bone is slightly sigmoid shaped with a moderately widened femoral head, a rather shallow ventral depression and a relatively short trochanter ( Fig. 3H View FIG ). The distal part of the femoral shaft is moderately widened and there is a shallow distal fossa.


For the first time, Carpathotriton   was found in the late middle Miocene (MN 7) of Mátraszőlős, Hungary; it was then identified erroneously as Archaeotriton von Meyer, 1859   ( Gál et al. 2000).The basis of this assignment was its extremely high neural spines of presacral vertebrae. However, a more detailed morphological study and the phylogenetic analysis indicates that it might have belonged to a more advanced stock of salamandrids reminiscent of some recent Asiatic newts (e.g., Cynops Tschudi, 1838   , Pachytriton Boulenger, 1878   , Paramesotriton Chang, 1935   ). Furthermore, some features (e.g.,the extremely high neural spines of the trunk vertebrae,limb bones only slightly widened distally, long toothless posterior ramus of dentary) indicate that it might have had a long aquatic phase and a peculiar feeding mechanism ( Venczel 2008).


Institutul Speologie Emil G. Racovita