Jonathan C. Weinbaum, 2013. "Postcranial skeleton of Postosuchus kirkpatricki (Archosauria: Paracrocodylomorpha), from the Upper Triassic of the United States", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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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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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.