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Sphenotitan, new sphenodontian (Lepidosauria) from Late Triassic of Argentina



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new paper:

Ricardo N. Martínez, Cecilia Apaldetti, Carina E. Colombi, Angel
Praderio, Eliana Fernandez, Paula Santi Malnis, Gustavo A. Correa,
Diego Abelin, and Oscar Alcober (2013)
A new sphenodontian (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia) from the Late
Triassic of Argentina and the early origin of the herbivore
opisthodontians.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 280 20132057
doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2057
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1772/20132057.abstract



Sphenodontians were a successful group of rhynchocephalian reptiles
that dominated the fossil record of Lepidosauria during the Triassic
and Jurassic. Although evidence of extinction is seen at the end of
the Laurasian Early Cretaceous, they appeared to remain numerically
abundant in South America until the end of the period. Most of the
known Late Cretaceous record in South America is composed of
opisthodontians, the herbivorous branch of Sphenodontia, whose oldest
members were until recently reported to be from the
Kimmeridgian–Tithonian (Late Jurassic). Here, we report a new
sphenodontian, Sphenotitan leyesi gen. et sp. nov., collected from the
Upper Triassic Quebrada del Barro Formation of northwestern Argentina.
Phylogenetic analysis identifies Sphenotitan as a basal member of
Opisthodontia, extending the known record of opisthodontians and the
origin of herbivory in this group by 50 Myr.