The Late Triassic dinosauromorph Sacisaurus agudoensis (Caturrita Formation; Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil): anatomy and affinities
Max C. Langer, Jorge Ferigolo, 2013. "The Late Triassic dinosauromorph Sacisaurus agudoensis (Caturrita Formation; Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil): anatomy and affinities", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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Silesauridae is an exclusively Triassic group of dinosauromorphs, knowledge on the diversity of which has increased dramatically in the last few years. Silesaurid relationships are still contentious, as a result in part of different homology statements, particularly regarding the typical edentulous mandible tip of these animals. One of the most complete silesaurids yet discovered is Sacisaurus agudoensis from the Caturrita Formation (Late Triassic: Norian) of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, represented by numerous isolated bones recovered from a single site. The anatomy of S. agudoensis is fully described for the first time here, and comparisons are provided to other basal dinosauromorphs. S. agudoensis is a small-bodied animal (less than 1 m in length) that possesses a dentition consisting of leaf-shaped crowns with large denticles in the carinae, a plesiomorphic propubic pelvis with an almost fully closed acetabulum, elongate distal hindlimbs suggesting well-developed cursorial ability, and a laterally projected outer malleolus in the tibia. All previous numerical phylogenies supported a non-dinosaur dinosauromorph affinity for Silesauridae, but the reanalysis of one of those studies suggests that a position within Dinosauria is not unlikely, with silesaurids forming the basal branch of the ornithischian lineage.
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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.