The skull anatomy of Decuriasuchus quartacolonia (Pseudosuchia: Suchia: Loricata) from the middle Triassic of Brazil
Marco A. G. De França, Max C. Langer, Jorge Ferigolo, 2013. "The skull anatomy of Decuriasuchus quartacolonia (Pseudosuchia: Suchia: Loricata) from the middle Triassic of Brazil", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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Unlike most rauisuchians, which are known based on partially preserved specimens, fossils attributed to Decuriasuchus quartacolonia include a monotaxonomic assemblage composed of nine associated individuals (MCN-PV10.105a–i), three with almost complete skulls (MCN-PV10.105a,c,d), and a partial disarticulated skull (MCN-PV10.004) collected in the Middle Triassic (Ladinian, Dinodontosaurus Biozone) beds of the Santa Maria Formation, in south Brazil. Because of its completeness and possible phylogenetic position, as one of the most basal loricatans, D. quartacolonia is a key taxon for anatomic, evolutionary and biomechanical studies of rauisuchians. The comparative description of its osteology reveals that the skull and mandible of D. quartacolonia are very similar to those of cf. Prestosuchus chiniquensis and Saurosuchus galilei, sharing a drop-shaped subnarial fenestra, a subtriangular antorbital fenestra with an elongated and narrow anterior point, a ‘roman nosed’ nasal, and a posteroventrally oriented ridge on the lateral surface of the ventral ramus of the squamosal. Among the differences are the autapomorphies of D. quartacolonia: numerous maxillary teeth (17), lateral expansion of the nasal/lacrimal covering the antorbital fenestra dorsally, and squamosal and quadratojugal forming a subtriangular projection that invades the lower temporal fenestra.
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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.