The higher-level phylogeny of Archosauria (Tetrapoda: Diapsida)

S.L. Brusatte, M.J. Benton, J.B. Desojo, M.C. Langer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Crown group Archosauria, which includes birds, dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs, and several extinct Mesozoic groups, is a primary division of the vertebrate tree of life. However, the higher-level phylogenetic relationships within Archosauria are poorly resolved and controversial, despite years of study. The phylogeny of crocodile-line archosaurs (Crurotarsi) is particularly contentious, and has been plagued by problematic taxon and character sampling. Recent discoveries and renewed focus on archosaur anatomy enable the compilation of a new dataset, which assimilates and standardizes character data pertinent to higher-level archosaur phylogeny, and is scored across the largest group of taxa yet analysed. This dataset includes 47 new characters (25% of total) and eight taxa that have yet to be included in an analysis, and total taxonomic sampling is more than twice that of any previous study. This analysis produces a well-resolved phylogeny, which recovers mostly traditional relationships within Avemetatarsalia, places Phytosauria as a basal crurotarsan clade, finds a close relationship between Aetosauria and Crocodylomorpha, and recovers a monophyletic Rauisuchia comprised of two major subclades. Support values are low, suggesting rampant homoplasy and missing data within Archosauria, but the phylogeny is highly congruent with stratigraphy. Comparison with alternative analyses identifies numerous scoring differences, but indicates that character sampling is the main source of incongruence. The phylogeny implies major missing lineages in the Early Triassic and may support a Carnian-Norian extinction event.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-47
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Systematic Palaeontology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The higher-level phylogeny of Archosauria (Tetrapoda: Diapsida)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this