Britt et al. 2019 bring us a new look
at a 3D drepanosaur.
From the abstract:
“With a bird-like head, mole-like arms, and a “claw” at the end of the tail, derived drepanosaurs (lizard-sized neodiapsids) are highly enigmatic.”
Not so. The large reptile tree (LRT, 1594 taxa, subset Fig. 2) documents exactly what they are. Paleontologists should stop using the word ‘enigmatic’ when what they really are saying is ‘we haven’t put in the effort.’ And that means the very little effort needed to click on www.ReptileEvolution.com where all candidates for drepanosaur ancestry are considered and tested.
“Multiple 3D skeletons of a new drepanosaur taxon from Utah provides insights into this clade, previously known from flattened skeletons and isolated 3D elements.”
Always good to have, but 2D specimens are still diagnostic, like a photo, rather than a sculpture. You don’t need as many characters as possible to make a taxonomic determination. What you need is a surfeit of taxa.
The rest of the abstract
describes the drepanosaur as a scratch-digger with an elongate naris and a hook tail capable of striking a tripod pose. They do not consider the ancestry or clade to which drepanosaurs belong, but consider them common and worldwide in distribution during the Late Triassic.
The title of this abstract
may be the longest one I have ever read. See below.
Britt B et al. 2019. Still stranger things: MicroCT imaging of 3D drepanosaur skulls and skeletons (Saints & Sinners quarrry, Late Triassic, Eolian/Interdunal nugget formation) reveals bizarre and novel morphologies including a beak combined with transversely wide teeth, sauropod-like pneumatic dorsal vertebrae, a chevron that articulates with the pelvis and tripodal adaptations. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology abstracts.