Doswelliidae: A Clade of Unusual Armoured Archosauriforms from the Middle and Late Triassic
Hans-Dieter Sues, Julia B. Desojo, Martín D. Ezcurra, 2013. "Doswelliidae: A Clade of Unusual Armoured Archosauriforms from the Middle and Late Triassic", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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Doswelliidae is a clade of armoured non-archosaurian archosauriform reptiles more closely related to Archosauria than are Proterosuchidae, Erythrosuchidae and possibly Euparkeria capensis. It is currently known from the late Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of Germany, the late Middle to early Late Triassic (Ladinian–Carnian) of Argentina and Brazil, and the Late Triassic (Carnian–Norian) of the USA. To date, two unambiguous synapomorphies diagnose Doswelliidae: (i) osteoderm ornamentation coarse, incised, and composed of central regular pits of subequal size and shape, and (ii) osteoderms with anterior articular lamina. Five taxa are currently recognized: Archeopelta arborensis, Doswellia kaltenbachi, Doswellia sixmilensis, Tarjadia ruthae and a new taxon from Germany. Based on skeletal features and occurrence, doswelliid archosauriforms may have had a semi-aquatic mode of life.
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Archosaurs, an important reptile group that includes today’s crocodiles and birds, arose during the Triassic in the aftermath of the greatest mass extinction of all time. In the last 20 years, our understanding of the early evolution of the group has improved substantially with the discovery of new fossils and species of early archosaurs and their closest relatives, a better understanding of the relationships of these animals, and new insights into their palaeobiology. In order to synthesize these new data, researchers of early archosaurs from around the world met at the first symposium of early archosaur evolution at the IV Congreso Latinoamericano de Paleontología de Vertebrados (September 2011) in San Juan, Argentina. This symposium facilitated collaboration and strove to paint a better understanding of these extraordinary animals. The resultant body of work is a state-of-the-art examination of early archosaur groups and their close relatives including historical, anatomical, biogeographical, evolutionary and palaeobiological data. This contribution furthers our knowledge of the anatomy, relationships, and palaeobiology of species-level taxa as well as more global patterns of archosaur evolution during the Triassic.