Donnerstag, 2. Dezember 2010

Three recent papers on chroniosuchians

Buchwitz M, Voigt S. 2010. Peculiar carapace structure of a Triassic chroniosuchian implies evolutionary shift in trunk flexibility. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30: 1697-1708. [Link]

Schoch RR, Voigt S, Buchwitz M. 2010. A chroniosuchid from the Triassic of Kyrgyzstan and analysis of chroniosuchian relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society 160: 515-530. [Link]

Klembara J, Clack J, Čerňanský A. 2010. The anatomy of palate of Chroniosaurus dongusensis (Chroniosuchia, Chroniosuchidae) from the Upper Permian of Russia. Palaeontology 53: 1147-1153. [Link]

The redescription of the Chroniosaurus dongusensis palate by Klembara and colleagues adds further data to the morphological dataset provided by Clack and Klembara (2009) in their revision of C. dongusensis on the basis of a new specimen (which is the most complete of any yet known chroniosuchian). According to the updated phylogenetic analysis from the 2010 paper Chroniosaurus as the only included chroniosuchian taxon formed the sister group of embolomeres.

Schoch and colleagues (me included) describe Madygenerpeton pustulatus, a new species of chroniosuchians from the Middle to Late Triassic of Central Asia with a highly derived skull morphology and a carapace that was chroniosuchid-like in many aspects. The find shows that one lineage of chroniosuchids survived the Permian-Triassic boundary (by 20 or so million years).

The authors discuss characteristics uniting chroniosuchians with "higher reptiliomorphs" and unlike the approach of Klembara and colleagues their cladistic analysis, which includes five chroniosuchian taxa, results in a position of chroniosuchians somewhat closer to amniotes than to embolomeres. Chroniosaurus comes out as the closest relative of Madygenerpeton (both share the characteristic ornamentation of the skull and osteoderms besides other features).

Buchwitz & Voigt consider the functionality of chroniosuchian carapaces, comparing them to archosaur osteoderm systems. They argue that chroniosuchian carapaces basically served terrestrial locomotion but that the higher lateral flexibility of the Madygenerpeton osteoderm system was linked to a secondary increase in undulation swimming capability.

Clack JA, Klembara J. 2009. An articulated specimen of Chroniosaurus dongusensis, and the morphology and relationships of the chroniosuchids. Special Papers in Palaeontology 81: 15-42. [Link]