Abyssomedon williamsi is a new parareptile from the Richards Spur Locality in Oklahoma reported by Mark MacDougall and Robert Reisz from University of Toronto, Mississauga in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Parareptiles are a sister taxon to Eureptiles, or “true reptiles,” and have traditionally included the anapsids. These species are generally very primitive. There is an unusually high number of Early Permian parareptile fossils found at the Richards Spur Locality in Oklahoma. A. williamsi is just the newest species described from the locality.
A. williamsi is an important new species. A. williamsi belongs to a clade of Parareptiles called nyctiphruretids, This clade is normally found in mid-to late Permian deposits in Russia. The discovery of A. williamsi in Oklahoma in early Permian deposits extends both the clade’s temporal and geographic range.
On a more personal note, A. wiliamsi has a very close tie with Burpee Museum; A. williamsi is named for Burpee Museum’s very own Scott Williams! Scott has collected in the Richards Spur Locality and has frequently collaborated with Dr. Robert Reisz on Permian projects that are part of the Museum’s permanent collection. In the paleontology world, to have a fossil species named after you is quite an honor. We hope you’ll join us as we congratulate the authors and Scott on this great new Parareptile species!