Abstract

In this paper we analyze the ontogenies of four species of pachypleurosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) occurring in Triassic-age deposits in the Monte San Giorgio region, Switzerland. Preservation of multiple complete specimens representing a growth series from each taxon allows the comparison of ontogenetic trajectories through a space composed of nine variables important in the evolution of the clade. Trajectories are characterized using the multivariate generalization of the allometry equation and then compared through calculations of the angles between allometry vectors. Individual coefficients of vectors are compared after calculation of bootstrapped confidence intervals. Pachypleurosaur ontogeny is found to be allometric and generally conserved, although significant differences between taxa exist. Shape-disassociated allometric changes characterize the transition between Serpianosaurus and Neusticosaurus, while allometric changes within Neusticosaurus are less significant. N. edwardsii is inferred to have arisen through hypermorphosis. Interpretation of whole-body heterochrony in multivariate analysis is discussed.

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