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Triassic pterosaurs



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper:

Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia (2013)
Triassic pterosaurs.
Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their
Kin: Geological Society Special Publication 379  (advance online
publication)
doi: 10.1144/SP379.14
http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/early/2013/04/24/SP379.14.abstract


Pterosaurs are a clade of highly specialized, volant archosauromorphs
recorded from the Upper Triassic to the uppermost Cretaceous.
Problematic remains referred to the Pterosauria are reported from the
Triassic of Europe and both North and South America, but unequivocal
pterosaur specimens are only known from the Alps (Italy, Austria and
Switzerland: Preondactylus buffarinii, Austriadactylus cristatus,
Peteinosaurus zambellii, Eudimorphodon ranzii, Carniadactylus
rosenfeldi, Caviramus schesaplanensis and Raeticodactylus
filisurensis) and Greenland (‘Eudimorphodon’ cromptonellus).
Pterosaurs are diagnosed mostly by features associated with the advent
of powered flight. They are generally considered to be archosaurians
more closely related to dinosaurs than to crocodilians, but
non-archosaurian positions have also been proposed. There is a lack of
general agreement about ingroup relationships, particularly among the
basal pterosaurs. Triassic pterosaurs differ from other
non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs in features of the dentition and caudal
vertebral column. A ‘Big Bang’ model for their early history fits
better with the fossil record: the earliest unequivocal pterosaurs
show a sudden and geographically limited appearance in the fossil
record, as well as a relatively high burst of diversity and
considerable morphologic disparity. Absence of pterosaur remains from
deposits where they are expected to be found suggests that they had
not yet evolved in pre-Norian times.