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Postcranial skeleton of Postosuchus kirkpatricki (Archosauria: Paracrocodylomorpha), from the Upper Triassic of the United States

Jonathan C. Weinbaum
Jonathan C. Weinbaum
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January 01, 2013


Postosuchus kirkpatricki is a Late Triassic (Norian) ‘rauisuchid’ archosaur from North America. The initial description of the Postosuchus type material included elements from two poposaurids. This confusion has prevented adequate description of the material. Recent examination of the type material and other specimens of Postosuchus, and of related taxa, has helped clarify the osteology of Postosuchus. The type specimens represent c. 75% of the skeleton. Together with other referred material, Postosuchus remains one of the most completely known rauisuchids. The paratype skeleton, which is relatively complete, would have been c. 3.5–4 m in length, and the holotype would have been closer to 5–6 m.

Analysis of the postcranial skeleton of Postosuchus suggests that it may have been an obligate biped (based in part on limb proportions, which are similar to some theropod dinosaurs, the size of the manus (30% of the size of the pes) and the highly reduced nature of the digits and vertebral measurements). Possible postcranial autapomorphies of Postosuchus include a large, rugose triangular supra-acetabular buttress confluent with the dorsal margin of the iliac blade, and a symmetrical pes with digits two and three being roughly equal in length.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin

S. J. Nesbitt
S. J. Nesbitt
University of Washington, USA
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J. B. Desojo
J. B. Desojo
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’, Argentina
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R. B. Irmis
R. B. Irmis
Natural History Museum of Utah, USA
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2013




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