Sanjuansaurus

Sanjuansaurus ("San Juan Province lizard") is a genus of herrerasaurid dinosaur from the Late Triassic (Carnian) Cancha de Bochas and La Peña Members of the Ischigualasto Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina.

Sanjuansaurus
Temporal range: Carnian
~231.4 Ma
Preserved bones of Sanjuansaurus
Holotype
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Family: Herrerasauridae
Genus: Sanjuansaurus
Alcober & Martinez, 2010
Species:
S. gordilloi
Binomial name
Sanjuansaurus gordilloi
Alcober & Martinez, 2010

Description and classification

Sanjuansaurus NT
Restoration

Sanjuansaurus was comparable in size to a medium-sized Herrerasaurus, with a thigh bone that was 395 millimetres (15.6 in) long and a tibia that is 260 millimetres (10 in) in length. Alcober and Martinez performed a phylogenetic analysis and found Sanjuansaurus to be a herrerasaurid.[1] It was determined that Sanjuansaurus and Herrerasaurus share many similarities in the morphology of the skull, neck vertebrae, back vertebrae, hip vertebrae, scapula, and the hip bones. Alcober and Martinez observed that Sanjuansaurus and Staurikosaurus share many similarities in the morphology of the hip bones, and the tibia.[1] The pubis of Sanjuansaurus, unlike in other herrerasaurids, points toward the cranium.

Distinguishing anatomical features

A diagnosis is a statement of the anatomical features of an organism (or group) that collectively distinguish it from all other organisms. Some, but not all, of the features in a diagnosis are also autapomorphies. An autapomorphy is a distinctive anatomical feature that is unique to a given organism or group.

According to Alcober and Martinez (2010), Sanjuansaurus can be distinguished based on the following characteristics:[1]

  • the cervical vertebrae have shelf-like, posterolaterally directed transverse processes
  • the neural spines of the sixth to eighth dorsal vertebrae, at least, bear acute anterior and posterior processes
  • the glenoid has everted lateral margins
  • the pubis is relatively short, measuring 63% of the length of the femur
  • a pronounced, rugose scar is present on the medial surface of the femur at the level of the fourth trochanter

Discovery

Sanjuansaurus
Maxilla of PVSJ 605

Sanjuansaurus was named and described in 2010 by Oscar Alcober and Ricardo Martinez. The type species was named S. gordilloi after Raul Gordillo, the head fossil preparator and artist of the San Juan Museum. It is known from and based on an associated and partially articulated partial skeleton (PVSJ 605) consisting of a jaw fragment, most of the vertebral column from the axis to the anterior tail, the shoulder blades, an ulna, part of the pelvis, most of the long bones of the legs, and a few other bones.

Paleoecology

Provenance and occurrence

Sanjuansaurus holotype specimen PVSJ 605 was discovered in 1994, in gray-green sandstone of the Cancha de Bocas Member near the base of the Ischigualasto Formation, in Ischigualasto Provincial Park in San Juan, Argentina. This horizon dates to approximately 231.4 Ma, during the late Carnian Stage of the Late Triassic.[1]

Fauna and habitat

Silhouette reconstruction of Sanjuansaurus
Skeletal restoration

In the Ischigualasto Formation, dinosaurs constituted only about 6% of the total number of fossils,[2] but by the end of the Triassic Period, dinosaurs were becoming the dominant large land animals, and the other archosaurs and synapsids declined in variety and number.[3]

Studies suggest that the paleoenvironment of the Ischigualasto Formation was a volcanically active floodplain covered by forests and subject to strong seasonal rainfalls. The climate was moist and warm,[4] though subject to seasonal variations.[5] Vegetation consisted of ferns (Cladophlebis), horsetails, and giant conifers (Protojuniperoxylon). These plants formed highland forests along the banks of rivers.[6] Sanjuansaurus lived in the jungles of Late Triassic South America alongside early dinosaurs, Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Chromogisaurus, and Panphagia, as well as Saurosuchus,[7] a giant land-living rauisuchian (a quadrupedal meat eater with a theropod-like skull); the broadly similar but smaller Venaticosuchus, an ornithosuchid; and the predatory chiniquodontids. Herbivores were much more abundant than carnivores and were represented by rhynchosaurs such as Hyperodapedon (a beaked reptile); aetosaurs (spiny armored reptiles); kannemeyeriid dicynodonts (stocky, front-heavy beaked quadrupedal animals) such as Ischigualastia; and therapsid traversodontids (somewhat similar in overall form to dicynodonts, but lacking beaks) such as Exaeretodon. These non-dinosaurian herbivores were much more abundant than early ornithischian dinosaurs like Pisanosaurus.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Alcober, Oscar A.; Martinez, Ricardo N. (2010). "A new herrerasaurid (Dinosauria, Saurischia) from the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of northwestern Argentina". ZooKeys. 63: 55–81. doi:10.3897/zookeys.63.550. PMC 3088398. PMID 21594020.
  2. ^ Benton, Michael J. (1999). "Origin and early evolution of dinosaurs". In Farlow, James O.; Brett-Surman, M.K. (eds.). The Complete Dinosaur. Indiana University Press. pp. 204–215. ISBN 0-253-21313-4.
  3. ^ Parrish, J. Michael (1999). "Evolution of the archosaurs". In Farlow, James O.; Brett-Surman, M.K. (eds.). The Complete Dinosaur. Indiana University Press. pp. 191–203. ISBN 0-253-21313-4.
  4. ^ Tucker, Maurice E.; Benton, Michael J. (1982). "Triassic environments, climates, and reptile evolution" (PDF). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 40 (4): 361–379. doi:10.1016/0031-0182(82)90034-7. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  5. ^ Columbi, Carina E. (2008-10-05). Stable isotope analysis of fossil plants from the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation in the northwest of Argentina. Houston, TX: The Geological Society of America. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  6. ^ Sereno, P.C. & Novas, F.E. (1992). The complete Skull and Skeleton of an Early dinosaur. Science. 258: 1137-1140. [Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis]
  7. ^ Sill, W.D. (1974). "The anatomy of Saurosuchus galilei and the relationships of the rauisuchid thecodonts". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 146: 317–362.
  8. ^ Bonaparte, J.F. (1970). "Annotated list of the South American Triassic tetrapods". Gondwana Symposium Proceedings and Papers. 2: 665–682.
Anchisauria

The Anchisauria were a clade of sauropodomorph dinosaurs that lived during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. The name Anchisauria was first used by Galton and Upchurch in the second edition of The Dinosauria. Galton and Upchurch assigned two families of dinosaurs to the Anchisauria: the Anchisauridae and the Melanorosauridae. The more common prosauropods Plateosaurus and Massospondylus were placed in the sister clade Plateosauria.

However, recent research indicates that Anchisaurus is closer to sauropods than traditional prosauropods; thus, Anchisauria would also include Sauropoda.The following cladogram simplified after an analysis presented by Blair McPhee and colleagues in 2014.

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.

Haya griva

Haya is an extinct genus of basal neornithischian dinosaur known from Mongolia.

Herrerasauridae

Herrerasauridae is a family of carnivorous basal saurischian dinosaurs. They are among the oldest known dinosaurs, first appearing in the fossil record around 233.23 million years ago (Late Triassic), before becoming extinct by the end of the Triassic period. Herrerasaurids were relatively small-sized dinosaurs, normally not more than 4 metres (13 ft) long. The best known representatives of this group are from South America (Brazil, Argentina), where they were first discovered in the 1960s. A nearly complete skeleton of Herrerasaurus ischigulastensis was discovered in the Ischigualasto Formation in San Juan, Argentina, in 1988. Less complete herrerasaurids have been found in North America, and they may have inhabited other continents as well.

Herrerasaurid anatomy is unusual and specialized, and they are not considered to be ancestral to any later dinosaur group. They only superficially resemble theropods and often present a mixture of very primitive and derived traits. The acetabulum is only partly open, and there are only two sacral vertebrae, the lowest number among dinosaurs. The pubic bone has a derived structure, being rotated somewhat posteriorly and folded to create a superficially tetanuran-like terminal expansion, especially prominent in H. ischigulastensis. The hand is primitive in having five metacarpals and the third finger longer than the second, but resembles those of theropods in having only three long fingers, with curved claws. Herrerasaurids also have a hinged mandible, which is also found in theropods.

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.

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.

Raeticodactylidae

Raeticodactylidae is a family of eudimorphodontoid eopterosaurian pterosaurs that lived in Switzerland during the Late Triassic. The family includes Caviramus, and the type genus Raeticodactylus, which are both known from the Kössen Formation, around 205 mya. Raeticodactylidae was first used in 2014 by Andres et al., as a group of all pterosaurs closer to Raeticodactylus than Eudimorphodon. The following phylogenetic analysis follows the topology of Andres et al. (2014).

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).

Staurikosaurus

Staurikosaurus (Pronounced "STORE-ee-koh-SAWR-us", "Southern Cross lizard") is a genus of herrerasaurid dinosaur from the Late Triassic of Brazil, found in the Santa Maria Formation.

Unaysauridae

Unaysauridae is a family of basal sauropodomorphs from the Late Triassic of India and Brazil.

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.

Yueosaurus

Yueosaurus is an extinct genus of basal ornithopod dinosaur known from Zhejiang Province, China.

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