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Elachistosuchus (Triassic diapsid) anatomy and origin of Sauria

Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Gabriela Sobral, Hans-Dieter Sues & Johannes Müller  (2015)
Anatomy of the Enigmatic Reptile Elachistosuchus huenei Janensch, 1949
(Reptilia: Diapsida) from the Upper Triassic of Germany and Its
Relevance for the Origin of Sauria.
PLoS ONE 10(9): e0135114.

The holotype and only known specimen of the enigmatic small reptile
Elachistosuchus huenei Janensch, 1949 from the Upper Triassic (Norian)
Arnstadt Formation of Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) is redescribed using μCT
scans of the material. This re-examination revealed new information on
the morphology of this taxon, including previously unknown parts of
the skeleton such as the palate, braincase, and shoulder girdle.
Elachistosuchus is diagnosed especially by the presence of the
posterolateral process of the frontal, the extension of the maxillary
tooth row to the posterior margin of the orbit, the free posterior
process of the jugal, and the notched anterior margin of the
interclavicle. Phylogenetic analyses using two recently published
character-taxon matrices recovered conflicting results for the
phylogenetic position of Elachistosuchus–either as an archosauromorph,
as a lepidosauromorph or as a more basal, non-saurian diapsid. These
different placements highlight the need of a thorough revision of
critical taxa and new character sets used for inferring neodiapsid