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A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria.
Sci Rep. 2017 04 10; 7:46028.SR

Abstract

Following the end-Permian extinction, terrestrial vertebrate diversity recovered by the Middle Triassic, and that diversity was now dominated by reptiles. However, those reptilian clades, including archosaurs and their closest relatives, are not commonly found until ~30 million years post-extinction in Late Triassic deposits despite time-calibrated phylogenetic analyses predicting an Early Triassic divergence for those clades. One of these groups from the Late Triassic, Phytosauria, is well known from a near-Pangean distribution, and this easily recognized clade bears an elongated rostrum with posteriorly retracted nares and numerous postcranial synapomorphies that are unique compared with all other contemporary reptiles. Here, we recognize the exquisitely preserved, nearly complete skeleton of Diandongosuchus fuyuanensis from the Middle Triassic of China as the oldest and basalmost phytosaur. The Middle Triassic age and lack of the characteristically-elongated rostrum fill a critical morphological and temporal gap in phytosaur evolution, indicating that the characteristic elongated rostrum of phytosaurs appeared subsequent to cranial and postcranial modifications associated with enhanced prey capture, predating that general trend of morphological evolution observed within Crocodyliformes. Additionally, Diandongosuchus supports that the clade was present across Pangea, suggesting early ecosystem exploration for Archosauriformes through nearshore environments and leading to ease of dispersal across the Tethys.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Geosciences, 4044 Derring Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061, USA.Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, 6 Westlake Culture Square, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 310014, China.Department of Geosciences, 4044 Derring Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061, USA.Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station "D", Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4, Canada.Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 643, Beijing 100044, P. R. China.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28393843

Citation

Stocker, Michelle R., et al. "A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and Its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria." Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 2017, p. 46028.
Stocker MR, Zhao LJ, Nesbitt SJ, et al. A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria. Sci Rep. 2017;7:46028.
Stocker, M. R., Zhao, L. J., Nesbitt, S. J., Wu, X. C., & Li, C. (2017). A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria. Scientific Reports, 7, 46028. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep46028
Stocker MR, et al. A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and Its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria. Sci Rep. 2017 04 10;7:46028. PubMed PMID: 28393843.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of Phytosauria. AU - Stocker,Michelle R, AU - Zhao,Li-Jun, AU - Nesbitt,Sterling J, AU - Wu,Xiao-Chun, AU - Li,Chun, Y1 - 2017/04/10/ PY - 2016/09/28/received PY - 2017/03/08/accepted PY - 2017/4/11/entrez PY - 2017/4/11/pubmed PY - 2018/11/18/medline SP - 46028 EP - 46028 JF - Scientific reports JO - Sci Rep VL - 7 N2 - Following the end-Permian extinction, terrestrial vertebrate diversity recovered by the Middle Triassic, and that diversity was now dominated by reptiles. However, those reptilian clades, including archosaurs and their closest relatives, are not commonly found until ~30 million years post-extinction in Late Triassic deposits despite time-calibrated phylogenetic analyses predicting an Early Triassic divergence for those clades. One of these groups from the Late Triassic, Phytosauria, is well known from a near-Pangean distribution, and this easily recognized clade bears an elongated rostrum with posteriorly retracted nares and numerous postcranial synapomorphies that are unique compared with all other contemporary reptiles. Here, we recognize the exquisitely preserved, nearly complete skeleton of Diandongosuchus fuyuanensis from the Middle Triassic of China as the oldest and basalmost phytosaur. The Middle Triassic age and lack of the characteristically-elongated rostrum fill a critical morphological and temporal gap in phytosaur evolution, indicating that the characteristic elongated rostrum of phytosaurs appeared subsequent to cranial and postcranial modifications associated with enhanced prey capture, predating that general trend of morphological evolution observed within Crocodyliformes. Additionally, Diandongosuchus supports that the clade was present across Pangea, suggesting early ecosystem exploration for Archosauriformes through nearshore environments and leading to ease of dispersal across the Tethys. SN - 2045-2322 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28393843/A_Short_Snouted_Middle_Triassic_Phytosaur_and_its_Implications_for_the_Morphological_Evolution_and_Biogeography_of_Phytosauria_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1038/srep46028 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -