Phytosaur

order of reptiles

Phytosaurs are an extinct group of large semi-aquatic Upper Triassic archosaurs.

Phytosaurs
Temporal range: ?Ladinian - Rhaetian, 242–199.6 Ma
Machaeroprosopus mccauleyi.jpg
Skull of Machaeroprosopus mccauleyi
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Archosauriformes
Clade: Crurotarsi
von Meyer, 1861
Order: Phytosauria
Jaeger, 1828
Genera
Synonyms

Parasuchia Huxley, 1875

Phytosaur skull

Phytosaurs were long-snouted and heavily armoured, bearing a remarkable resemblance to modern crocodiles in size, appearance, and lifestyle.[1] This is an example of convergence or parallel evolution. The name 'phytosaur' means 'plant reptile': the first fossils of phytosaurs were mistakenly thought to belong to plant eaters. The sharp teeth in phytosaur jaws clearly show they were predators.

Although phytosaurs were not true crocodilians themselves, they were more closely related to the crocodilians than to other modern reptiles. Crocodiles did not become phytosaur-like until the Lower Jurassic. "Consensus generally places phytosaurs as basal crurotarsans, possibly the basal-most group".[2]

Phytosaurs had a nearly global distribution. Fossils have been recovered from Europe, North America, India, Morocco, Thailand, Brazil and Madagascar.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Benton M.J. 1990. The reign of the reptiles. Crescent, New York. p75
  2. Brusatte, Stephen L. et al 2010. The higher-level phylogeny of Archosauria (Tetrapoda: Diapsida). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 8: 1, 3–47. [1]