The further recognition of the increased diversity of basal saurischian dinosaurs in the latest Carnian is interesting and provides more circumstantial support for the earlier diversification of Archosauria in the Early Triassic as hypothesized by Nesbitt (2009) based on body fossils and more recently by Brusatte et al. (2010) based on footprint evidence.
Alcober O.A., and R. N. Martinez. 2010. A new herrerasaurid (Dinosauria, Saurischia) from the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of northwestern Argentina. ZooKeys 63 : 55 – 81 . doi: 10.3897/zookeys.63.550
Abstract - Herrerasauridae comprises a basal clade of dinosaurs best known from the Upper Triassic of Argentina and Brazil, which have yielded remains of Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis and Staurikosaurus pricei, respectively. Systematic opinion regarding the position of Herrerasauridae at the base of Dinosauria has varied. Here we describe a new herrerasaurid, Sanjuansaurus gordilloi gen. n., sp. n., based on a partial skeleton from Carnian-age strata of the the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of northwestern Argentina. The new taxon is diagnosed by numerous features, including long, band-shaped and posterolaterally oriented transverse process on the posterior cervical vertebrae; neural spines of the sixth to eighth dorsal vertebrae, at least, bearing acute anterior and posterior processes; scapula and coracoid with everted lateral margins of the glenoid; and short pubis (63% of the femoral length). Phylogenetic analysis placed Sanjuansaurus within a monophyletic Herrerasauridae, at the base of Theropoda and including Herrerasaurus and Staurikosaurus. The presence of Sanjuansaurus at the base of the Ischigualasto Formation, along with other dinosaurs such as Herrerasaurus, Eoraptor, Panphagia, and Chromogisaurus suggests that saurischian dinosaurs in southwestern Pangea were already widely diversified by the late Carnian rather than increasing in diversity across the Carnian-Norian boundary.
|Holotype specimen of Sanjuansaurus gordilloi (PVSJ 605)|
Brusatte, S. L., Niedźwiedzki, G., and R. J. Butler. 2010. Footprints pull origin and diversification of dinosaur stem lineage deep into Early Triassic. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1746
Nesbitt, S. J. 2009. The antiquity of Archosauria and the origin of Late Triassic archosaur assemblages. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29:155A.
Nesbitt, S. J., Smith, N. D., Irmis, R. B.,Turner, A. H., Downs, A., and M. A. Norell. 2009. A Complete skeleton of a Late Triassic saurischian and the early evolution of dinosaurs. Science 326: 1530–1533.