Sunday, August 21, 2011

Diodorus scytobrachion, a new silesaurid from the Late Triassic of Morocco

 Fig 1.- Asilisaurus kongwe, from Tanzania.

The Silesaurids form a family of archosaurs closely related to the dinosaurs. They appeared in the fossil record during the Middle Triassic period and thrived alongside the early representatives of the dinosaurian clade during the Late Triassic period. These long-necked lightly-built quadrupedal critters possessed a dentary beak and leaf-shaped teeth, indicative of either an herbivorous or omnivorous diet.
Fig 2.- Silesaurus opolensis, from Poland.
Long known from just a few fragmentary remains from Argentina, their richness has only been recognized quite recently with the description of several well preserved taxa from Poland (Silesaurus opolensis, described in 2003), Brazil (Sacisaurus agudoensis, described in 2006) and Tanzania (Asilisaurus kongwe, described in 2010).

Yet another taxon, Diodorus scytobrachion, has just been described by Christian Kammerer, Sterling Nesbitt and Neil Shubin, from the Late Triassic (?Carnian-Norian) Timezgadiouine Formation of the Argana Basin of Morocco. The remains consist of a partial right dentary, isolated teeth, two humeri, a metatarsal and femur coming from different individuals. Phylogenetical analysis shows it was most closely related to the Brazilian Sacisaurus. Diodorus confirms the widespread distribution of the Silesaurids.

Christian F. Kammerer, Sterling J. Nesbitt, and Neil H. Shubin. 2011. The first basal dinosauriform (Silesauridae) from the Late Triassic of Morocco. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, in press.

Original artworks on Paleoexhibit are copyrighted to Nobu Tamura. Do not use without permission.

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