Sterling J. Nesbitt, Stephen L. Brusatte, Julia B. Desojo, Alexandre Liparini, Marco A. G. De França, Jonathan C. Weinbaum, David J. Gower, 2013. "Rauisuchia", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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‘Rauisuchia’ comprises Triassic pseudosuchians that ranged greatly in body size, locomotor styles and feeding ecologies. Our concept of what constitutes a rauisuchian is changing as a result of discoveries over the last 15 years. New evidence has shown that rauisuchians are probably not a natural (monophyletic) group, but instead are a number of smaller clades (e.g. Rauisuchidae, Ctenosauriscidae, Shuvosauridae) that may not be each other’s closest relatives within Pseudosuchia. Here, we acknowledge that there are still large gaps in the basic understanding in the alpha-level taxonomy and relationships of these groups, but good progress is being made. As a result of renewed interest in rauisuchians, an expanding number of recent studies have focused on the growth, locomotor habits, and biomechanics of these animals, and we review these studies here. We are clearly in the midst of a renaissance in our understanding of rauisuchian evolution and the continuation of detailed descriptions, the development of explicit phylogenetic hypotheses, and explicit palaeobiological studies are essential in advancing our knowledge of these extinct animals.
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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.