A new captorhinid reptile, Gansurhinus qingtoushanensis, gen. et sp. nov., from the Permian of China
Captorhinids, a clade of Paleozoic reptiles, are represented by a rich fossil record that extends from the Late Carboniferous into the Late Permian. Representatives of this clade dispersed from the equatorial regions of Laurasia into the temperate regions of Pangea during the Middle and Late Permian. This rich fossil record shows that there was an evolutionary trend from faunivorous to omnivorous and herbivorous feeding habits within this clade. The discovery of well-preserved captorhinid materials in the Middle Permian of China allows us to determine that the new taxon, Gansurhinus qingtoushanensis, gen. et sp. nov, is a member of Moradisaurinae, a clade of captorhinids with multiple tooth rows arranged in parallel. The presence of this moradisaurine in the Middle Permian of south central Asia leads us to suggest that paleogeographic changes during the Permian, with part of what is today China becoming a large peninsula of Pangea, allowed these early reptiles as well as other terrestrial vertebrates to extend their geographic ranges to this region of the Late Paleozoic supercontinent.