Sterling Nesbitt & Julia B. Desojo (2017)
The osteology and phylogenetic position of Luperosuchus fractus (Archosauria: Loricata) from the latest Middle Triassic or earliest Late Triassic of Argentina.
Ameghiniana (advance online publication)
Large archosaurs from the early part of the archosaur radiation are exceedingly rare and with few exceptions, most of these remains consist of fragmentary postcrania. We redescribe the fragmentary skull of Luperosuchus fractus from the early Middle-Late Triassic Chañares Formation of Argentina, assign newly discovered fragments from the original excavation to the same individual, and analyze its phylogenetic affinities. The dorsally convex and mediolaterally compressed anterior portion of the nasal (= ‘Roman-nose’), convex and circular knob on the dorsolateral margin of the postorbital, and a long anterior process of the prefrontal that fails to extend to the anterior end of the frontal are considered autapomorphies of Luperosuchus. The elongated gap between the nasal and maxilla is likely an artifact of preservation and this prompted a critical reevaluation of the supposed openings in the anterior portion of the skull of other suchians. We confirm that Luperosuchus is a loricatan (composed mostly of the taxa classically termed as ‘rauisuchians’) using a well sampled phylogeny and find a close relationship with the other large southwestern Pangean forms, Prestosuchus chiniquensis and Saurosuchus galilei. We also show that the holotype of Luperosuchus is the only known specimen of the taxon and all other previously referred material cannot be assigned with confidence to it.