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Sefapanosaurus, new basal sauropodomorph from Elliot Formation of South Africa

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Alejandro Otero, Emil Krupandan, Diego Pol, Anusuya Chinsamy and Jonah
Choiniere (2015)5
A new basal sauropodiform from South Africa and the phylogenetic
relationships of basal sauropodomorphs.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 174(3): 589–634
DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12247

We present a new medium-sized basal sauropodomorph, Sefapanosaurus
zastronensis gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Triassic−Lower Jurassic
Elliot Formation of South Africa. It is represented by parts of the
postcranial skeleton of at least four individuals, including:
cervical, dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae, most of the forelimb,
and part of the hindlimb. Sefapanosaurus bears several autapomorphies
of the astragalus, and referred material also shows autapomorphic
features. The inclusion of Sefapanosaurus in a phylogenetic analysis
places it within the group of sauropodomorphs more closely related to
sauropods than to Massospondylus (i.e. Sauropodiformes), increasing
the currently known diversity of the so-called ‘transitional forms’
leading to Sauropoda. Character optimization revealed the presence of
several features that are common for taxa placed within the
transitional branches basal to Sauropoda. Sefapanosaurus, together
with other transitional sauropodomorphs reported during the last
decade, highlights the importance of Gondwanan taxa for understanding
the palaeobiodiversity, global distribution, and macroevolutionary
changes in the group related to the rise of sauropods.