Data from: Neuroanatomy of the mekosuchine crocodylian Trilophosuchus rackhami Willis, 1993
Ristevski, Jorgo (2022), Data from: Neuroanatomy of the mekosuchine crocodylian Trilophosuchus rackhami Willis, 1993, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fbg79cnx4
Although our knowledge on crocodylomorph palaeoneurology has experienced considerable growth in recent years, the neuroanatomy of many crocodylomorph taxa has yet to be studied. This is true for Australian taxa, where thus far only two crocodylian crocodylomorphs have had aspects of their neuroanatomy explored. Here, the neuroanatomy of the Australian mekosuchine crocodylian Trilophosuchus rackhami is described for the first time, which significantly increases our understanding on the palaeoneurology of Australian crocodylians. The palaeoneurological description is based on the taxon’s holotype specimen (QMF16856), which was subjected to a µCT scan. Because of the exceptional preservation of QMF16856, most neuroanatomical elements could be digitally reconstructed and described in detail. Therefore, the palaeoneurological assessment presented here is hitherto the most in-depth study of this kind for an extinct Australian crocodylomorph. Trilophosuchus rackhami has a brain endocast with a distinctive morphology that is characterized by an acute dural peak over the hindbrain region. While the overall morphology of the brain endocast is unique to T. rackhami, it does share certain similarities with the notosuchian crocodyliforms Araripesuchus wegeneri and Sebecus icaeorhinus. The endosseous labyrinth displays a morphology that is typical for crocodylians, although a stand-out feature is the unusually tall common crus. Indeed, the common crus of T. rackhami has one of the greatest height ratios among crocodylomorphs with currently known endosseous labyrinths. The paratympanic pneumatic system of T. rackhami is greatly developed and most similar to those of the extant crocodylians Osteolaemus tetraspis and Paleosuchus palpebrosus. The observations on the neuroanatomy of T. rackhami are also discussed in the context of Crocodylomorpha. The comparative palaeoneurology reinforces previous evaluations that the neuroanatomy of crocodylomorphs is complex and diverse among species, and T. rackhami has a peculiar neuromorphology, particularly among eusuchian crocodyliforms.