Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New Aetosaur

Julia B. Desojo, Martin D. Ezcurra, and  Edio E. Kischlat. 2012. "A new aetosaur genus (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) from the early Late Triassic of southern Brazil" Zootaxa 3166: 1–33

We describe the new aetosaur Aetobarbakinoides brasiliensis gen. et sp. nov. from the early Late Triassic (late Carnian - early Norian) Brazilian Santa Maria Formation. The holotype is composed of a partial postcranium including several cervical and dorsal vertebrae and ribs, one anterior caudal vertebra, right scapula, right humerus, right tibia, partial right pes, and anterior and mid-dorsal paramedian osteoderms. Aetobarbakinoides is differentiated from other aetosaurs by the presence of cervical vertebrae with widely laterally extended prezygapophyses, mid-cervical vertebrae with anterior articular facet width more than 1.2 times wider than the posterior one, anterior caudal vertebrae with extremely anteroposteriorly short prezygapophyses, elongated humerus and tibia in relation to the axial skeleton, and paramedian osteoderms with a weakly raised anterior bar. A cladistic analysis recovered the new species as more derived than the South American genera Aetosauroides (late Carnian-early Norian) and Neoaetosauroides (late Norian-Rhaetian), and it is nested as the sister-taxon of an unnamed clade, composed of Typothoracisinae and Desmatosuchinae, due to the absence of a ventral keel in the cervical vertebrae. Aetobarbakinoides presents a skeletal anatomy previously unknown among South American aetosaurs, with the combination of presacral vertebrae with hyposphene, anteroposteriorly short and unkeeled cervical vertebrae, gracile limbs, and paramedian osteoderms with a weakly raised anterior bar. Aetobarbakinoides is among the oldest known aetosaurs together with Aetosauroides from Argentina and Brazil and Stagonolepis robertsoni from Scotland, indicating a widely distributed early record for the group. In addition, the recognition of a suite of derived features in Aetobarbakinoides, which is one of the oldest known aetosaurs, is in agreement with an older origin for the group, as it is expected by the extensive ghost lineages at the base of the main pseudosuchian clades.

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