The cranial morphology of Tanystropheus hydroides (Tanystropheidae, Archosauromorpha) as revealed by synchrotron microtomography
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AuthorsSpiekman, Stephan NF
Neenan, James M
Fraser, Nicholas C
Scheyer, Torsten M
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe postcranial morphology of the extremely long-necked Tanystropheus hydroides is well-known, but observations of skull morphology were previously limited due to compression of the known specimens. Here we provide a detailed description of the skull of PIMUZ T 2790, including a partial endocast and endosseous labyrinth, based on synchrotron microtomographic data, and compare its morphology to that of other early Archosauromorpha. In many features, such as the wide and flattened snout and the configuration of the temporal and palatal regions, Tanystropheus hydroides differs strongly from other early archosauromorphs. The braincase possesses a combination of derived archosaur traits, such as the presence of a laterosphenoid and the ossification of the lateral wall of the braincase, but also differs from archosauriforms in the morphology of the ventral ramus of the opisthotic, the horizontal orientation of the parabasisphenoid, and the absence of a clearly defined crista prootica. Tanystropheus hydroides was a ram-feeder that likely caught its prey through a laterally directed snapping bite. Although the cranial morphology of other archosauromorph lineages is relatively well-represented, the skulls of most tanystropheid taxa remain poorly understood due to compressed and often fragmentary specimens. The recent descriptions of the skulls of Macrocnemus bassanii and now Tanystropheus hydroides reveal a large cranial disparity in the clade, reflecting wide ecological diversity, and highlighting the importance of non-archosauriform Archosauromorpha to both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems during the Triassic.
CitationSpiekman SNF, Neenan JM, Fraser NC, Fernandez V, Rieppel O, Nosotti S, Scheyer TM. 2020. The cranial morphology of Tanystropheus hydroides (Tanystropheidae, Archosauromorpha) as revealed by synchrotron microtomography. PeerJ 8:e10299 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10299
Item Description© 2020 Spiekman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.