The braincase of Prestosuchus chiniquensis (Archosauria: Suchia)
Bianca Martins Mastrantonio, Cesar L. Schultz, Julia B. Desojo, Juliana Bittencourt Garcia, 2013. "The braincase of Prestosuchus chiniquensis (Archosauria: Suchia)", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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The osteology of an almost complete braincase of the rauisuchian archosaur Prestosuchus chiniquensis from the Middle Triassic of Brazil is described for first time, based on two specimens (UFRGS-PV-0629-T and UFRGS-PV-0156-T). A comparative description with other taxa of rauisuchians is presented that forms the basis of a phylogenetic analysis. To perform the phylogenetic analysis, we describe and discuss each character codification for a modified version of the recent matrices of Gower (2002), Gower & Nesbitt (2006) and Brusatte et al. (2010). The analysis resulted in two most parsimonious trees that differ from the topologies recovered by Gower (2002) in a few aspects within Rauisuchia, and Prestosuchus chiniquensis was unequivocally depicted as deeply nested within Pseudosuchia, as the sister taxon of Batrachotomus kuperferzellensis in both topologies, supported by a single synapomorphy: the reduced to small fissure of the post-temporal fenestra between parietal, supraoccipital and exoccipital-opisthotic.
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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.