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Book Chapter

‘Proterosuchia’: The Origin and Early History of Archosauriformes

By
Martín D. Ezcurra
Martín D. Ezcurra
GeoBio-Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Richard-Wagner-Strasse 10, 80333 Munich, Germany
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Richard J. Butler
Richard J. Butler
GeoBio-Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Richard-Wagner-Strasse 10, 80333 Munich, Germany
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David J. Gower
David J. Gower
Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2013

Abstract

The earliest history of Archosauriformes is mainly represented by members of Proterosuchidae and Erythrosuchidae, which are known worldwide from latest Permian to Middle Triassic beds. These two groups were historically combined within ‘Proterosuchia’, with approximately 30 nominal species. Two morphotypes have been recognized among proterosuchians: proterosuchids with a generally more sprawling gait and elongated and low skulls with an overhanging premaxilla, and the more heavily built erythrosuchids, with a probably less sprawling gait and large, presumably hypercarnivorous, skulls. The systematics of ‘Proterosuchia’ was relatively chaotic throughout most of the twentieth century, but currently there exists consensus regarding the non-monophyly of proterosuchians and their phylogenetic position outside all other archosauriforms. In contrast, the delimitation and taxonomic content of Proterosuchidae and Erythrosuchidae remain unstable. Few studies of proterosuchian palaeobiology have been carried out. Current lines of evidence favour a predominantly terrestrial lifestyle for proterosuchians. Limb bone histology indicates rapid continuous growth rates in Proterosuchus and Erythrosuchus before reaching sexual maturity. A better knowledge of proterosuchian anatomy, systematics, evolution and ecology is important for advancing understanding of the origin and early radiation of Archosauriformes and the patterns of biotic recovery following the Permo-Triassic mass extinction event. There remains much research to be carried out in proterosuchian palaeobiology.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin

S. J. Nesbitt
S. J. Nesbitt
University of Washington, USA
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J. B. Desojo
J. B. Desojo
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’, Argentina
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R. B. Irmis
R. B. Irmis
Natural History Museum of Utah, USA
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Geological Society of London
Volume
379
ISBN electronic:
9781862396395
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

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