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Ankylosaurian dinosaur phylogeny



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

New online article:

Richard S. Thompson, Jolyon C. Parish, Susannah C. R. Maidment & Paul M.
Barrett (2011)
Phylogeny of the ankylosaurian dinosaurs (Ornithischia: Thyreophora)
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology  (advance online publication)
DOI:10.1080/14772019.2011.569091
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14772019.2011.569091

Abstract
Ankylosauria is a diverse clade of quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaurs
whose remains are known from Middle Jurassic to latest Cretaceous sediments
worldwide. Despite a long history of research, ankylosaur
interrelationships remain poorly resolved and existing cladistic analyses
suffer from limited character and taxon sampling. Here, we present the most
comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the group attempted to date. The
traditional ankylosaurid?nodosaurid dichotomy is maintained. Ankylosauridae
forms a well-resolved clade, which includes Zhongyuansaurus, the first
ankylosaurid known to lack a tail club. Nodosauridae includes a number of
taxa that were resolved either as 'polacanthids' or basal ankylosaurids in
previous analyses. The use of a broader character sample allows analysis of
the interrelationships of all valid ankylosaur species; this has revealed
several previously unrecognized relationships. Stegosauria is recovered as
the sister taxon to Ankylosauria, while Scelidosaurus is found to be a
basal thyreophoran. Dedicated methods for coding continuous characters
could be used in future to improve the resolution of ankylosaur phylogeny,
particularly in order to explore the relationships within the poorly
resolved nodosaurid clade.


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