Lagosuchus

Lagosuchus is a genus of small avemetatarsalian archosaurs from the middle Triassic period. It is generally thought to be closely related to dinosaurs, as a member of the Dinosauromorpha. Its fossils were found in the Chañares Formation of Argentina, the dating of which is uncertain; some sources date it to the Middle Triassic whilst others date it to the earliest Carnian.

Lagosuchus
Temporal range: Middle Triassic, 236–234 Ma
Lagosuchus Talampayensis
Mounted skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauromorpha
Order: Lagosuchia
Bonaparte, 1975
Family: Lagosuchidae
Genus: Lagosuchus
Romer, 1971
Type species
Lagosuchus talampayensis

History

The type species Lagosuchus talampayensis was first described by Alfred S. Romer in 1971, who considered it a "pseudosuchian".[1] In 1972 he named a second species, Lagosuchus lilloensis, known from a larger and more well-preserved skeleton.[2] A later review by Jose Bonaparte in 1975 synonymized the two species and considered Lagosuchus intermediate between "pseudosuchians" and saurischian dinosaurs.[3] Modern authors now consider at least L. lilloensis to be firmly on the lineage of archosaurs leading to dinosaurs.[4] However, the genus Lagosuchus is regarded by some to be dubious. Paul Sereno and Andrea Arcucci considered L. talampayensis to be undiagnosable in a 1994 study, and reclassified L. lilloensis as a new genus, Marasuchus.[5] Additionally, the dating of its formation is unclear; recent research has dated the Chañares to the early Carnian stage of the Late Triassic.[6]

Description

Lagosuchus
Artist's impressions and skeletal restoration

Lagosuchus is known from very incomplete remains (only a hind leg plus a shoulder blade and vertebrae can be definitely assigned to it). However, features of the leg show that it was a lightly built archosaur, and is notable for its long slender legs and well-developed feet - features it shares with certain dinosaurs. These features, as well as comparisons to close relatives, suggest that it could run on its hind legs for short periods, although it probably moved on all fours most of the time. Lagosuchus was likely an agile predator that could use speed to chase its prey and to escape larger predators.[7] Lagosuchus was about the size of a ferret.[8]

Palaeobiology

Metabolism

It is believed that Lagosuchus and Marasuchus were transitional between cold blooded reptiles and warm blooded dinosaurs.[9]

References

  1. ^ Romer, Alfred Sherwood (15 June 1971). "The Chañares (Argentina) Triassic reptile fauna. X. Two new but incompletely known long-limbed pseudosuchians". Breviora. 378: 1–10.
  2. ^ Romer, Alfred Sherwood (11 August 1972). "The Chañares (Argentina) Triassic reptile fauna. XV. Further remains of the thecodonts Lagerpeton and Lagosuchus". Breviora. 394: 1–7.
  3. ^ Jose, Bonaparte (1975). "Nuevos materiales de Lagosuchus talampayensis Romer (Thecodontia-Pseudosuchia) y su significado en el origen de los Saurischia: Chañarense inferior, Triásico medio de Argentina" (PDF). Acta Geológica Lilloana. 13 (1): 5–90.
  4. ^ Nesbitt, S.J. (2011). "The Early Evolution of Archosaurs: Relationships and the Origin of Major Clades" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 352: 189. doi:10.1206/352.1. hdl:2246/6112. ISSN 0003-0090.
  5. ^ Sereno, Paul C.; Arcucci, Andrea B. (March 1994). "Dinosaurian precursors from the Middle Triassic of Argentina: Marasuchus lilloensis, gen. nov". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 14 (1): 53–73. doi:10.1080/02724634.1994.10011538.
  6. ^ Claudia A. Marsicano; Randall B. Irmis; Adriana C. Mancuso; Roland Mundil; Farid Chemale (2016). "The precise temporal calibration of dinosaur origins". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113 (3): 509–513. Bibcode:2016PNAS..113..509M. doi:10.1073/pnas.1512541112. PMC 4725541. PMID 26644579.
  7. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-84028-152-1.
  8. ^ Paul, Gregory (1988). Predatory dinosaurs of the world. Simon & Schuster.
  9. ^ Pontzer, Herman; Allen, Vivian; Hutchinson, John R. (2009). "Biomechanics of Running Indicates Endothermy in Bipedal Dinosaurs". PLoS ONE. 4 (12): e7783. Bibcode:2009PLoSO...4.7783P. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007783. PMC 2772121. PMID 19911059.
Avemetatarsalia

Avemetatarsalia (meaning "bird metatarsals") is a clade name established by British palaeontologist Michael Benton in 1999 for all crown group archosaurs that are closer to birds than to crocodilians. An alternate name is Pan-Aves, or "all birds", in reference to its definition containing all animals, living or extinct, which are more closely related to birds than to crocodilians. Almost all avemetatarsalians are members of a similarly defined subgroup, Ornithodira. Ornithodira is defined as the last common ancestor of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and all of its descendants.Members of this group include the Dinosauromorpha, Pterosauromorpha, the genus Scleromochlus, and Aphanosauria. Dinosauromorpha contains more basal forms, including Lagerpeton and Marasuchus, as well as more derived forms, including dinosaurs. Birds belong to the dinosaurs as members of the theropods. Pterosauromorpha contains Pterosauria, which were the first vertebrates capable of true flight. Aphanosauria is a Triassic group of gracile carnivorous quadrupeds which was recognized in 2017.

Averostra

Averostra, or "bird snouts", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs that have a promaxillary fenestra (fenestra promaxillaris), an extra opening in the front outer side of the maxilla, the bone that makes up the upper jaw. Two groups of averostrans, the Ceratosauria and the Orionides, survived into the Cretaceous period. When the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event occurred, ceratosaurians and two groups of orionideans within the clade Coelurosauria, the Tyrannosauroidea and Maniraptoriformes, were still extant. Only one subgroup of maniraptoriformes, Aves, survived the extinction event and persisted to the present day.

Avetheropoda

Avetheropoda, or "bird theropods", is a clade that includes carnosaurians and coelurosaurs to the exclusion of other dinosaurs.

Cerapoda

Cerapoda ("ceratopsians and ornithopods") is a clade of the dinosaur order Ornithischia.

Dinosauriformes

Dinosauriformes is a clade of archosaurian reptiles that include the dinosaurs and their most immediate relatives. All dinosauriformes are distinguished by several features, such as shortened forelimbs and a partially to fully perforated acetabulum, the hole in the hip socket traditionally used to define dinosaurs. The oldest known member is Asilisaurus, dating to about 245 million years ago in the Anisian age of the middle Triassic period.

Dinosauromorpha

Dinosauromorpha is a clade of archosaurs that includes the clade Dinosauria (dinosaurs), and all animals more closely related to dinosaurs than to pterosaurs. Birds are the only surviving dinosauromorphs.

Hyposphene-hypantrum articulation

The hyposphene-hypantrum articulation is an accessory joint found in the vertebrae of several fossil reptiles of the group Archosauromorpha. It consists of a process on the backside of the vertebrae, the hyposphene, that fits in a depression in the front side of the next vertebrae, the hypantrum. Hyposphene-hypantrum articulations occur in the dorsal vertebrae and sometimes also in the posteriormost cervical and anteriormost caudal vertebrae.In most tetrapods including the human, the vertebrae are connected with each other only via the centrum and the zygapophysis joints. Additional joints like the hyposphene-hypantrum articulations, which add rigidity to the vertebral column, are found in several different reptile lineages; a known example are the zygosphene-zygantrum articulations found in snakes.Hyposphene-hypantrum articulations are found in several unrelated groups within the Archosauromorpha. They occur especially in large forms, for example in rauisuchids and in silesaurids and – within the Dinosauria – in saurischians. They evolved to make the vertebral column more rigid and stable and probably had supported the gigantism in sauropod dinosaurs.Early Dinosauromorphs (early ancestors of dinosaurs) like Marasuchus, Lagosuchus and Euparkeria as well as ornithischian dinosaurs lack hyposphene-hypantrum articulations. Because these articulations are absent in both saurischian ancestors and all non-saurischian dinosaurs, they are considered a synapomorphy (a distinctive feature) of the Saurischia, as proposed by Gauthier (1986). Hyposphene-hypantrum articulations are found in all the basal members of the Saurischia. However, they became lost in several saurischian lineages. They were present in the derived and birdlike dromaeosaurid Rahonavis, but are lost in modern day's birds, probably due to their highly modified vertebrae. Within the Sauropodomorpha, they were present in prosauropods and most sauropods, but became independently lost in two cretaceous sauropod lineages, the Titanosauria and the Rebbachisauridae.The hyposphene usually consists of a vertical ridge and is situated below the postzygapophysis, whereas the hypantrum is situated between the prezygapophysis. In sauropods, this joint is extremely variable.

Jeholosauridae

Jeholosaurids were herbivorous neornithischian dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period (Aptian - Santonian, with a possible Campanian record) of Asia. The family was first proposed by Han et al. in 2012. The jeholosaurids were defined as those ornithischians more closely related to Jeholosaurus shangyuanensis than to Hypsilophodon foxii, Iguanodon bernissartensis, Protoceratops andrewsi, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, or Thescelosaurus neglectus. The Jeholosauridae includes the type genus Jeholosaurus and Yueosaurus.

Jingshanosaurus

Jingshanosaurus (meaning "Jingshan lizard") is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.

Ladinian

The Ladinian is a stage and age in the Middle Triassic series or epoch. It spans the time between 242 Ma and ~237 Ma (million years ago). The Ladinian was preceded by the Anisian and succeeded by the Carnian (part of the Upper or Late Triassic).The Ladinian is coeval with the Falangian Chinese regional stage.

Marasuchus

Marasuchus (meaning "Mara crocodile") is a genus of basal dinosauriform archosaur which lived during the late Triassic in what is now La Rioja Province, Argentina. It possessed some, but not all of the adaptations which traditionally characterized dinosaurs. For example, its proportions indicate that it was likely bipedal as in early dinosaurs, and it shared certain specific characteristics with that group such, most relating to the hip and the head of the femur. Nevertheless, it lacked certain dinosaur-like features such as a perforated acetabulum, and it had several plesiomorphic ("primitive") features of the ankle.

Melanorosauridae

The Melanorosauridae were a family of sauropodomorph dinosaurs which lived during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. The name Melanorosauridae was first coined by Friedrich von Huene in 1929. Huene assigned several families of dinosaurs to the infraorder "Prosauropoda": the Anchisauridae, the Plateosauridae, the Thecodontosauridae, and the Melanorosauridae. Since then, these families have undergone numerous revisions. Galton and Upchurch (2004) considered Camelotia, Lessemsaurus, and Melanorosaurus members of the family Melanorosauridae. A more recent study by Yates (2007) indicates that the melanorosaurids were instead early sauropods.

Neotheropoda

Neotheropoda (meaning "new theropods") is a clade that includes coelophysoids and more advanced theropod dinosaurs, and the only group of theropods who survived the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Yet all of the neotheropods became extinct during the early Jurassic period except for Averostra.

Orionides

Orionides is a clade of tetanuran theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic to the Present. The clade includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds.

Orodrominae

Orodrominae is a subfamily of parksosaurid dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of North America and Asia.

Pseudolagosuchus

Pseudolagosuchus (meaning "false Lagosuchus") is a genus of dinosauromorph from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) Chañares Formation of Argentina. It may be a junior synonym of Lewisuchus, but there is very little overlapping material. It was a small reptile which was probably about 1 meter (3.3 ft) long, 30 centimeters (1 ft) tall, and weighed approximately 2 kilograms (4.4 lb). It is known only from a pubis, a femur, a tibia, and vertebrae. Both Sterling Nesbitt, Christian Sidor et al. (2010) and Matthew Baron, David Norman and Paul Barrett (2017) treated this taxon as being synonymous with Lewisuchus.

Riojasauridae

Riojasauridae is a family of sauropod-like dinosaurs from the Upper Triassic. It is known primarily from the genera Riojasaurus and Eucnemesaurus. Sites containing Riojasauridae include the Lower Elliot Formation of Orange Free State, South Africa (where fossils of Eucnemesaurus have been found), and Ischigualasto, in La Rioja Province, Argentina ( where fossils of Riojasaurus have been recovered).

Saltopus

Saltopus ("hopping foot") is a genus of very small bipedal dinosauriform containing the single species S. elginensis from the late Triassic period of Scotland. It is one of the most famous Elgin Reptiles.

Xixiposaurus

Xixiposaurus is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur which existed in what is now Lower Lufeng Formation, China during the lower Jurassic period. It was first named by Sekiya Toru in 2010 and the type species is Xixiposaurus suni.

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