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RE: The Croc That Wanted to Be a Dinosaur

Jay <sappororaptor@yahoo.com> wrote:

Except that Chatterjee had already named Shuvosauridae in 1993.

Thanks for the correction - I'd forgotten about that one.

Jeff Hecht wrote:

What I find fascinating is that the suchians and the true dinosaurs evolved in parallel with similar traits through the Triassic, much as the two lines of birds did in the Cretaceous, looking quite similar except for bones in the ankles and legs that distinguished them. There also are parallels in extinction patterns. The end-Triassic extinctions wiped out the dinosaur-like crocs; the end-
Cretaceous extinction wiped out the enantiornithes.

The non-crocodylomorph suchians certainly bit the dust at the end of the Triassic. Some rather theropod-like crocs (as in 'crocodylomorphs') persisted into the Middle Jurassic (like _Junggarsuchus_) and even the Late Jurassic (_Hallopus_/_Macelognathus_). These 'sphenosuchians' were rather small, gracile, and cursorial, with an erect dinosaur-like posture.

The poor Suchia were whittled away throughout the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, with the various suchian groups disappearing over a very long period of time: basal suchians (shuvosaurs, aetosaurs, etc), 'sphenosuchians', protosuchians, thatalattosuchians, dyrosaurs, sebecosuchians... until only one lineage was left: the crown-group crocodylians.