Anatomy and systematics of the prosauropod dinosaur Thecodontosaurus antiquus from the Upper Triassic of southwest England

MJ Benton*, L Juul, GW Storrs, PM Galton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Re-examination of the surviving specimens of Thecodontosaurus antiquus indicates that this plesiomorphic sauropodomorph can be diagnosed on the basis of elongate basipterygoid processes, a relatively short dentary, and a squared posterior process of the ilium. Although much of the original topotype material found in the 1830s in Bristol, England, has now been lost, some 245 specimens remain. These indicate a small, gracile prosauropod, up to 2.5 m in length, distinguished primarily on the absence of derived characters seen in other prosauropods. Although attempts were formerly made to subdivide the Bristol specimens into several dinosaurian, and other, taxa, most appear to pertain to the prosauropod Thecodontosaurus antiquus. The specimens do indicate a clear separation into two morphs, a gracile and a robust form, presumably evidence of sexual dimorphism. A juvenile Thecodontosaurus sp. from South Wales may belong to the same species. A cladistic analysis indicates that Prosauropoda is probably a clade, rather than a series of outgroups to Sauropoda, but support for this conclusion is weak. Echoing other recent cladistic analyses, stronger support is found for the existence of a clade Sauropodomorpha, made up from Prosauropoda + Sauropoda, for the clade Sauropoda itself, and for the clade Eusauropoda within Sauropoda.

Translated title of the contributionAnatomy and systematics of the prosauropod dinosaur Thecodontosaurus antiquus from the Upper Triassic of southwest England
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-108
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Volume20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2000

Keywords

  • SAUROPOD DINOSAURS
  • SKELETON
  • FAUNAS
  • FOSSIL
  • TREES

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