Morphology of the dental carinae in Mariliasuchus amarali (Crocodylomorpha, Notosuchia) and the pattern of tooth serration among basal Mesoeucrocodylia.
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Carinated teeth are common in Mesoeucrocodylia, and the occurrence of denticles over the carinae is related to high predacious species, often referred as ziphodont. This characteristic is broadly recognized as homoplastic. Carinae morphology is cryptic, difficult to be studied under common techniques, and Scanning Electronic Microscopy (SEM) allows the access to detailed information, offering a higher degree of confidence. Previous SEM study allowed the recognition of true/false ziphodont patterns, according to the morphology of the denticles, but such studies on gondwanan mesoeucrocodyles are uncommon. Mariliasuchus amarali is an Upper Cretaceous notosuchian mesoeucrocodyle from South America (Bauru Group, Brazil), with carinated teeth and specialized dentition. Its geological and biochronological distribution are reappraised. SEM study of two teeth shows carinae composed of isolated tuberous anisomorphic true denticles, supporting previous study. Enamel ornamentation does not develop over the carinae, and fabric becomes anastomosed in middle and posterior teeth. Carinae only occur in posterior molariform teeth, related to food processing. Morphological variability of Mariliasuchus is commented, focusing on dentition. Overall characteristics, molariform morphology and wear planes support a non-predacious habit for Matiliasuchus. Matiliasuchus pattern could not be related to true/false ziphodont patterns, either by morphology or function, and is defined as ziphomorph. Ziphomorph pattern is evaluated within the range of mesoeucrocodyles. The detailed study of homoplastic characteristics, such as dental carinae, may provide useful apomorphic information for cladistic analysis.