Field of Science

Associated Evolution Of Bipedality And Cursoriality Among Triassic Archosaurs

Kubo, T., and M. O. Kubo. 2012. Associated evolution of bipedality and cursoriality among Triassic archosaurs: a phylogenetically controlled evaluation. Paleobiology 38: 474–485.
Abstract - Bipedalism evolved more than twice among archosaurs, and it is a characteristic of basal dinosaurs and a prerequisite for avian flight. Nevertheless, the reasons for the evolution of bipedalism among archosaurs have barely been investigated. Comparative analysis using phylogenetically independent contrasts showed a significant correlation between bipedality (relative length of forelimb) and cursoriality (relative length of metatarsal III) among Triassic archosaurs. This result indicates that, among Triassic archosaurs, bipeds could run faster than quadrupeds. Bipedalism is probably an adaptation for cursoriality among archosaurs, which may explain why bipedalism evolved convergently in the crocodilian and bird lineages. This result also indicates that the means of acquiring cursoriality may differ between archosaurs and mammals.

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