Field of Science

New Paper on the Triassic Dinosaur Staurikosaurus pricei

Bittencourt, J.S., and A.W.A. Kellner. 2009. The anatomy and phylogenetic position of the Triassic dinosaur Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970. Zootaxa 2079:1-56.

Abstract: We redescribe the holotype of the saurischian dinosaur Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970 from Late Triassic Santa Maria Formation (southern Brazil), following additional preparation that revealed new anatomical features. A revised diagnosis is proposed and the published synapomorphies for Dinosauria and less inclusive clades (e.g. Saurischia) are evaluated for this species. Some characters previously identified as present in the holotype, including the intramandibular joint, hyposphene-hypantrum articulations in dorsal vertebrae, and a cranial trochanter and trochanteric shelf on the femur, cannot be confirmed due to poor preservation or are absent in the available material. In addition, postcranial characters support a close relationship between S. pricei and Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis Reig, 1963 (Late Triassic, Argentina), forming the clade Herrerasauridae. Several pelvic and vertebral characters support the placement of S. pricei as a saurischian dinosaur. Within Saurischia, characters observed in the holotype, including the anatomy of the dentition and caudal vertebrae, support theropod affinities. However, the absence of some characters observed in the clades Theropoda and Sauropodomorpha suggests that S. pricei is not a member of Eusaurischia. Most morphological characters discussed in previous phylogenetic studies cannot be assessed for S. pricei because of the incompleteness of the holotype and only known specimen. The phylogenetic position of S. pricei is constrained by that of its sister taxon H. ischigualastensis, which is known from much more complete material.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. What's wierd to me is that, depending on who's doing the analysis (Sereno vs. everyone else), Herrerasauridae pops up in so many different "basal" positions within Saurischia. I think I read one paper that suggested it might've been a basal Sauropodomorph.

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