Max C. Langer, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Jonathas S. Bittencourt, Randall B. Irmis, 2013. "Non-dinosaurian Dinosauromorpha", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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Ichnological evidence suggests that dinosauromorphs originated by the Early Triassic, and skeletal remains of non-dinosaur representatives of the clade occur from the Anisian to the end of the Triassic. These taxa are small- to medium-sized, vary in feeding and locomotor features, and occurred over most of western Pangaea. They include the small lagerpetids from the Mid–Late Triassic of Argentina and the United States, and the larger, quadrupedal Silesauridae, with records in the Middle Triassic of Africa and Argentina, and in the Late Triassic of Europe, the Americas and northern Africa. The former group represents the earliest diverging dinosauromorphs, whereas silesaurids are more closely related to Dinosauria. Other dinosauromorphs include the archetypal early dinosauriform Marasuchus lilloensis (Middle Triassic of Argentina) and poorly known/controversial taxa such as Lewisuchus admixtus and Saltopus elginensis. The earliest diverging dinosauromorphs may have preyed on small animals (including insects), but cranio-dental remains are rare; by contrast, most silesaurids probably included plant material in their diet, as indicated by their modified jaw apparatus and teeth. Our knowledge of the anatomy and thus relationships of non-dinosaurian Dinosauromorpha is still deficient, and we suspect that future discoveries will continue to reveal novel patterns and hypotheses of palaeobiology and biogeography.
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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.