Hemiprotosuchus: closer to Aetosaurus than Protosuchus

Not much written about this genus
According to Wikipedia,Hemiprotosuchus is an extinct genus of protosuchid from the Late Triassic (Norian stage) Los Colorados Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina, South America.” 

Figure 1. Hemiprotosuchus leali skull from Desojo and Ezcurra, nests with Decuriasuchus in the LRT. The variation within this clade is increased with this nesting.

Figure 1. Hemiprotosuchus leali skull from Desojo and Ezcurra, nests with Decuriasuchus in the LRT. The variation within this clade is increased with this nesting.

The specimen
(Fig. 1, image from Desojo and Ezcurra 2016) seems to be preserved as a half skull, nearly complete. Bonaparte 1969 first considered this a protosuchid like Protosuchus (Fig. 2), likely due to its low triangular rostrum and high temporal region.

Figure 2. Protosuchus skull. The high cranium and low triangular rostrum evidently made Bonaparte 1969 consider Hemiprotosuchus similar enough to Protosuchus.

Figure 2. Protosuchus skull. The high cranium and low triangular rostrum evidently made Bonaparte 1969 consider Hemiprotosuchus similar enough to Protosuchus.

After testing
in the large reptile tree (LRT, 1594 taxa) Hemiprotosuchus (PVL 3829, Bonaparte 1969; Norian, Late Triassic) nested between Ticinosuchus (Fig. 3) and aetosaurs, like Stagonolepis and Aetosaurus (Fig. 3).  That’s a long way from Protosuchus in the LRT.

In 1969 no one knew
that Ticinosuchus was basal to aetosaurs. The LRT recovered that relationship here in 2011.

Figure 3. Hemiprotosuhus image from Desojo and Ezccura 2016. Colors added. This taxon is derived from Ticinosuchus, basal to aetosaurs.

Figure 3. Hemiprotosuhus image from Desojo and Ezccura 2016. Colors added. This taxon is derived from Ticinosuchus, basal to aetosaurs.

Others (e.g. Nesbitt 2011 and works based on that cladogram)
considered Revueltosaurus (Fig. 3) a basal aetosaur. The LRT nests Revueltosaurus closer to the genesis of the Euarchosauriformes (between Euparkeria and Erythrosuchus among lesser known taxa).

Desojo and Ezcurra 2016
accepted the protorosuchian affinities of Hemiprotosuchus without further comment.


References
Bonaparte JF 1969. Dos nuevas ‘faunas’ de reptiles triasicos de Argentina. Gondwana Stratigraphy (IUGS Symposium, Buenos Aires)2:283–306.
Desojo JB and Ezcurra MD 2016. Triassic pseudosuchian archosaurs of South America. Historia Evolutiva y Paleobiogeográfica de los Vertebratos de América del Sur. XXX Jornados Argentinas de Paleontología de Vertebrados. Contribuciones del MACN No. 6: 57–66.

wiki/Hemiprotosuchus

CM 73372 reconstructed

So far as I know,
Carnegie Museum specimen CM 73372 (Fig. 1) does not yet have a name, nor has it been reconstructed. Weinbaum 2013 included this skull-less image in a Postosuchus study, which makes sense at first sight, given the size, proportions and age (Late Triassic) of both specimens. The large reptile tree (LRT, 1394 taxa) nests CM73372 close to Postosuchus, but closer to Teratosaurus and Smok. Since Teratosaurus is known from skull-only data at present, there is loss of resolution at that node.

Figure 1. CM73372 in situ and reconstructed using DGS methodology. At first glance it seems to be a biped with short fingers, like Postosuchus. In situ image from Weinbaum 2013.

Figure 1. CM73372 in situ and reconstructed using DGS methodology. At first glance it seems to be a biped with short fingers, like Postosuchus. In situ image from Weinbaum 2013.

This is an interesting taxon because
Lucuona et al. 2017 and others nest it basal to Crocodylomorpha. Weinbaum considered it a member of the Archosauria and the Paracrocodylomorpha, a clade the large reptile tree (LRT, 1394 taxa) does not recover.

According to Wikipedia
Loricata was an early name for an order that includes crocodilesalligators, and gharials, although the order is now referred to as Crocodylia. Nesbitt 2011 defined it as the most inclusive clade containing Crocodylus niloticus (the Nile crocodile), but not the extinct Poposaurus gracilisOrnithosuchus longidens, or Aetosaurus ferox. In the LRT, that clade is a junior synonym for Crocodylomorpha, since Poposaurus is a member of the proximal outgroup, the Poposauria. In traditional paleontology Loricata includes Rauisuchia and Crocodylomorpha. If so, then it also includes Poposauria and Dinosauria, but that was not the original intention of this definition.

Paracrocodylomorpha is another clade invalidated by the LRT because it includes Poposauria and Loricata. In the LRT Rauisuchia is the basal clade, followed roughly by Poposauria and Archosauria (crocs + dinos only).

You might recall,
the Nesbitt 2011 cladogram finds phytosaurs arising from a sister to the distinctly different Euparkeria. Taxon exclusion is the problem here. Nesbitt 2011 also finds Ornithosuchia (Ornithosuchus and kin) and Pterosauria forming the first dichotomy arising from a basal sister to Phytosauria. Again taxon exclusion is the problem here, yet widely accepted in the paleo community for reasons unknown (except, possibly ease of use and fear of change). We talked about other odd and topsy-turvy sister taxa recovered by Nesbitt 2011 earlier here, here and here, three blog posts in a nine-part series.

This addition of CM73372 to the LRT sets us up
for tomorrow’s discussion on basal archosaurs.

References
Lecuona A, Desojo JB and Pol D 2017. New information on the postcranial skeleton of Gracilisuchus stipanicicorum (Archosauria: Suchia) and reappraisal of its phylogenetic position. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2017, XX, 1–40.
Weinbaum J 2013. Postcranial skeleton of Postosuchus kirkpatricki (Archosauria:
Paracrocodylomorpha), from the Upper Triassic of the United States. Geological Society London Special Publications · August 2013.

wiki/Paracrocodylomorpha
wiki/Loricata

Not Arizonasaurus, but Postosuchus, made the giant Isochirotherium tracks

A recent paper by Diedrich (2015) purported to match the Arizonasaurus to giant Isochirotherium tracks from the Middle Triassic of Germany (Fig. 1).

The problem is,
no manus or pes are known for Arizonasaurus. Furthermore, all related taxa in the large reptile tree have digit 3 the longest, and all digits are elongate. The giant Isochirotherium tracks indicate that both digits 2 and 3 are the longest, and they are short. So matching candidates have to be found elsewhere, not close to Arizonoasaurus (although the size and time are right!).

Among the 504 taxa in the large reptile tree that are possible candidates with digits 2 and 3 the longest are Erythrosuchus (Fig. 1), Shansisuchus, Lotosaurus and the Postosuchus alisonae (Peyer 2008, Fig. 1). It turns out that only the latter is the best match when scaled up to the size of P. kirkpatrchicki (Chatterjee 1985, Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Giant Isochirotherium tracks matched to Postosuchus alisonae scaled up to the size of P. kirkpatrcki.

Figure 1. Giant Isochirotherium tracks matched to Postosuchus alisonae scaled up to the size of P. kirkpatrcki. Click to enlarge. This taxon was not considered originally because it is Late Triassic and the tracks are Middle Triassic.

Postosuchus was not mentioned in the text
because Diedrich (recent email) knew Postosuchus was Late Triassic, not Middle Triassic. He did not accept the idea that between the origin, radiation and extinction of Postosuchus there might have been a Middle Triassic relative.

Diedrich also saw the small manus tracks and assumed they were produced by a large poposaurid. Unfortunately, Arizonasaurus does not nest with poposaurids either. And poposaurids, other than Lotosaurus, do not match the track morphology.

It would have been helpful,
I suppose, to do what I did and make a list of possible candidates from a large list, AND THEN delete the possible candidates one by one as bad matches. Other than that phylogenetic bracketing mismatch, Diedrich does good work with excellent graphics. It took a leap of faith, I suppose to match tracks to a taxon for which no manus or foot is known.

C. Diedrich writes:
“Watch my ARTE docu – there you see Arizonasaurus (Ticinosuchus and Macrocnemus) walking in my point of view combining trak/sleketal records”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9GcVmb6OtE

References
Chatterjee S 1985. Postosuchus, a new Thecodontian reptile from the Triassic of Texas and the origin of Tyrannosaurs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 309 (1139): 395–460. doi:10.1098/rstb.1985.0092.
Diedrich C 2015.
Isochirotherium trackways, their possible trackmakers (?Arizonasaurus): intercontinental giant archosaur migrations in the Middle Triassic tsunami-influenced carbonate intertidal mud flats of the European Germanic Basin  Carbonates and Evaporites  DOI 10.1007/s13146-014-0228-z
Novak SE 2004. A new specimen of Postosuchus from the Late Triassic Coelophysis Quarry, siltstone member, Chinle Formation, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. M.S. thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Peyer K Carter, JG, Sues H-D, Novak SE, and Olsen PE 2008. A new Suchian Archosaur from the Upper Triassic of North Carolina. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28 (2): 363–381. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28[363:ANSAFT]2.0.CO;2.

A closer look at Sikannisuchus huskyi

Earlier we looked at the skull roof of Sikannisuchus. Unfortunately, I ignored those long mandible bits and pieces. These give us more clues to restore the missing parts in lateral view (Fig. 1).

Sikannisuhus huskyi restored on must a view bits and pieces.

Sikannisuhus huskyi restored on must a view bits and pieces. Nesting with Postosuchus provides clues to the shapes of the missing parts. That’s a nice long skull. Must have been a BIG reptile.

If I made any errors, or the clues point in another direction, let me know.

References
Nicholls EL, Brinkman DB and Wu K-C 1998. A new archosaur from the Upper Triassic
Pardonet Formation of British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Science 35: 1134–1142.

Arizonasaurus vs Spinosaurus

Two unrelated reptiles
evolved similar morphologies, Arizonasaurus and Spinosaurus (Fig. 1), a long rostrum filled with sharp teeth, a bipedal configuration and enormous neural spine arising from the dorsal vertebrae. One was a giant. The other about waist high. Seen here together for the first time…

Figure 1. Spinosaurus and Arizonsaurus, together for the first time. The similarities are obvious and intriguing.

Figure 1. Spinosaurus and Arizonsaurus, together for the first time. The similarities are obvious and intriguing. Spinosaurus courtesy of Scott Hartmann.

Spinosaurus is a famous giant theropod dinosaur. Arizonasaurus is none of these things. It’s a member of a clade that has no name, but arose from basal rauisuchids, like Venjukovia. It was a sister to Ticinosuchus + Aetosaurs and Yarasuchus + Qianosuchus, none of which have much of a sail back. I thought comparing these two might provide clues to their convergent looks.

Arizonasaurus comes from the Middle Triassic Moenkoepi Formation, which included fresh water and a diverse fauna. Earlier we looked at the possibility that this predator was bipedal, based on the very small pectoral girdle and very deep (for its time) pelvic girdle, almost like that of T-rex, but more gracile. Relatives include fish eaters, like long-necked Yarasuchus and plant eaters, like aetosaurs. So this is already a diverse clade that no doubt will provide many surprising morphologies in the future. Originally described as a prestosuchid rauisuchian, Brusatte et al. (2010) nested it with poposaurs. In the large reptile tree poposaurs nest a little closer to dinosaurs and basal crocs.

Spinosaurus comes from the Middle Cretaceous of northern Africa, which, at the time included tidal flats, mangrove forests and several other giant theropods. Only a few other dinosaurs had such long neural spines. The question is, where they more like sails, and aid in thermoregulation? Or did they support a buffalo-like hump of fat? Spinosaur relatives, all smaller, did not sport much of a sail back. So whatever its utility was, it was unique.

Sail backs seem to spring up occasionally and quickly around the reptile family tree. They never seem to last.

Moving on
to those long jaws, Spinosaurus was considered a quick-strike artist, feeding on everything from fish to small dinosaurs, but with that size it could have taken on any prey. No such claims have been made for Arizonasaurus, perhaps because not much of the skull is known. But the teeth were sharp

My take
I have no expertise and no stake in the hump vs. sail argument. Since these sails seem to come and go rather quickly, my opinion is they are literally a flash in the pan, thus they have no real utility and are only for show… secondary sexual traits. Popular one day, not so popular the next. The blessing probably becomes a curse over time, as the sail gets bigger, so the trait and the animal disappears. The neural spines are broad because they have “roots” that are broad, unlike Dimetrodon and like Sphenacodon.

References
Bailey JB 1997. Neural spine elongation in dinosaurs: sailbacks or buffalo-backs?. Journal of Paleontology 71 (6): 1124–1146.
Butler RJ, Brusatte SL, Reich M, Nesbitt SJ, Schoch RR, et al. 2011. The Sail-Backed Reptile Ctenosauriscus from the Latest Early Triassic of Germany and the Timing and Biogeography of the Early Archosaur Radiation. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25693. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025693 Plos One paper
Nesbitt SJ 2003. Arizonasaurus and its implications for archosaur divergence. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B (Suppl.) 270, S234–S237. DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0066
Nesbitt SJ, Liu J and Li C 2010. A sail-backed suchian from the Heshanggou Formation (Early Triassic: Olenekian) of China. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 101 (Special Issue 3-4):271-284.
Welles SP 1947 Vertebrates from the Upper Moenkopi Formation of the Northern Arizona. Univ. California Publ. Geol. Sci. 27, 241–294.
Wu X-C 1981. The discovery of a new thecodont from north east Shanxi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 19: 122–132.

wiki/Arizonasaurus
wiki/Ctenosauriscus

Luperosuchus: an erythrosuchid, not a rauisuchian

Luperosuchus fractus (Romer 1972, PULR 04) was considered a indistinct pseudosuchian originally and later a rauisuchian by Desojo and Arcucci (2009). The large reptile tree recovers it as an erythrosuchid and a sister to Shansisuchus, which had an even larger subnarial fenestra. Earlier we looked at the two Shansisuchus specimens, noting that the referred specimen was much larger than the holotype with a distinct morphology, more like Luperosuchus.

Figure 1. Luperosuchus restored based on Romer 1971. Above: original drawing by Romer. Below tracing based on photo in Romer 1971, specimen PULR 04. At right is referred specimen PULR 057. Although related, the referred specimen strikes me as generically different with the low placement of the naris and large postorbital.

Figure 1. Luperosuchus restored based on Romer 1971. Above: original drawing by Romer. Below tracing based on photo in Romer 1971, specimen PULR 04. Extension of the qj and a deeper max gives it more of a erythrosuchid look. At right is referred specimen PULR 057. Although related, the referred specimen strikes me as generically different with the low placement of the naris and large postorbital. Analysis on PULR 057 has not been done.

The reconstruction by Desojo and Arcucci (2009, Fig. 1, above) assumes a short quadratojugal, but a longer qj (Fig. 1, below) matches sister taxa.

This one is probably a rauisuchid
Another much smaller specimen (PULR 057, Fig. 1) was referred to Luperosuchus. That seems doubtful based on the lower placement of the naris, the straighter rostral profile, the larger antorbital fenestra, the deeper pmx/mx notch and the more robust postorbital. These traits appear to lead to Ticinosuchus and the aetosaurs as other archosauriformes retain a high naris. A second possibility leads toward the euparkeriid Osmolskina. A phylogenetic analysis was not attempted due to the small number of traits shown.

References
Desojo JB and Arcucci AB 2009. New material of Luperosuchus fractus (Archosauria: Crurotarsi) from the Middle Triassic of Argentina: the earliest known South American ‘Rauisuchian’. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(4): 1311-1315. 
Romer AS 1971. The Chañares (Argentina) Triassic reptile fauna. VIII. A fragmentary skull of a large thecodont, Luperosuchus fractus. Breviora 373:1-8.

Short note: ReptileEvolution.com has just passed a million hits for this year. Between 4.2 and 5.7 thousand unique visitors access the site every month.

Reconstructing the hand of Ticinosuchus

Sometimes fossils are wonderfully preserved
and fully articulated. Sometimes they are wonderfully preserved but woefully disarticulated. At such times, most of the bones can be fit together with ease, but the bones of the fingers and toes can be vexing.

Figure 1. Ticinosuchus forelimbs. Note the scattered manual elements here reconstructed to create PILs and match sister taxa patterns.

Figure 1. Ticinosuchus forelimbs. Note the scattered manual elements here reconstructed to create PILs and match sister taxa patterns. Yellow is the radius. Pink is the ulna. Metatarsal 3 is the most robust based on sister taxa. The phalangeal pattern is 2-3-4-5-4.

Case in point: Ticinosuchus
An important taxon in the evolution of crocs and dinosaurs and other Triassic oddities is the basal rauisuchian, Ticinosuchus. It had departed from the rauisuchian ancestors so much that it is basal to the armored herbivorous aetosaurs of the Late Triassic. Most of the elements of both manus of the Ticinosuchus are present, but scattered. That doesn’t mean they’re impossible to put back together again.

Trace the parts.
Move the parts into a logical pattern (thick with thick, thin with thin, gradually tapering digits, phylogenetic bracketing patterns) then test your results to see if PILs (parallel interphalangeal lines) are produced. When all that happens, you can have high confidence in a correct solution.

Figure 2. Ticinosuchus overall, hand, foot and skull.

Figure 2. Ticinosuchus overall, hand, foot and skull. The hand is presented as originally interpreted by Krebs and by a new reconstruction based on the tracing in figure 1 and phylogenetic bracketing.

This is a long-armed quadrupedal taxon with long (longer than each metacarpal). Metacarpal 3 was the most robust. Metacarpal 5 was extremely short. Digits 3 and 4 were subequal. Digit 1 was the shortest digit, but digit 5 had smaller phalanges. Where known, sister taxa share most of these traits.

Earlier here, here and here we put the manus of an early archosauriform together.

References
Krebs B 1965. Ticinosuchus ferox nov. gen. nov. sp. Ein neuer Pseudosuchier aus der Trias des Monte San Giorgio. Schweizerische Palaontologische Abhandlungen 81:1-140.
Lautenschlager S and Desojo JB 2011. Reassessment of the Middle Triassic rauisuchian archosaurs Ticinosuchus ferox and Stagonosuchus nyassicus. Paläontologische Zeitschrift Online First DOI: 10.1007/s12542-011-0105-1

wiki/Ticinosuchus

The Sailback Arizonasaurus – a Good Bipedal Candidate

Figure 1. Arizonasaurus configured as a biped. The depth of the pubis suggests a similar length for the femur and tibia. The gracile pectoral girdle suggests a gracile forelimb. The long deep tail is based on the related Yarasuchus.

Figure 1. Arizonasaurus configured as a biped. The depth of the pubis suggests a similar length for the femur and the tibia follows. The gracile pectoral girdle suggests a gracile forelimb, perhaps smaller than shown here. The long deep tail is based on the related Yarasuchus. Looks a little like Spinosuchus, doesn’t it? And this clade is known for fish-eating.

Like the cheese, Arizonasaurus stands alone. Almost.
Phylogenetic analysis nests what is known about Arizonasaurus with Yarasuchus and Qianosuchus two sail-less ticinosuchians (not poposaurs, as envisioned by Nesbitt 2011).

Another sailback, Lotosaurus does nest with poposaurs, though, but it’s quite different and a herbivore.

Figure 2. Xilousuchus and  Yarasuchus compared.

Figure 2. Xilousuchus and Yarasuchus compared. Yarasuchus is a sister to Arizonasaurus, but has a much more robust pectoral girdle.

We don’t have any fore limbs or hind limbs for Arizonasaurus,
but we do have its pectoral and pelvic girdles.

The pelvic girdle is very deep, compared to the ancestral Vjushkovia, and sister taxa like Yarasuchus, Qianosuchus and Ticinosuchus. In these taxa the femur extends at least as far as the pubis depth and sometimes a little further. If we add such femora to the reconstruction of Arizonasaurus, it becomes essentially bipedal.

The pectoral girdle is quite small and gracile. It would be odd for massive or elongate forelimbs to be attached to such a small pectoral girdle, so here (Fig.1) an appropriate gracile short forelimb is added.

But wait, that’s not all.
That sail adds leverage and strength to the back bone, helping to hold up the elevated anterior half. Moreover, if we add on the deep tail of the related Yarasuchus, we reconstruct a substantial counterbalance (Fig. 1).

References
Butler RJ, Brusatte SL, Reich M, Nesbitt SJ, Schoch RR, et al. 2011. The Sail-Backed Reptile Ctenosauriscus from the Latest Early Triassic of Germany and the Timing and Biogeography of the Early Archosaur Radiation. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25693. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025693 Plos One paper
Nesbitt SJ 2003. Arizonasaurus and its implications for archosaur divergence
Sterling J. Nesbitt Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B (Suppl.) 270, S234–S237. DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0066
Nesbitt SJ, Liu J and Li C 2010. A sail-backed suchian from the Heshanggou Formation (Early Triassic: Olenekian) of China. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 101 (Special Issue 3-4):271-284.
Nesbitt SJ 2011. The early evolution of archosaurs: relationships and the origin of major clades. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 352: 292 pp.
Welles SP 1947 Vertebrates from the Upper Moenkopi Formation of the Northern Arizona. Univ. California Publ. Geol. Sci. 27, 241–294.
Wu X-C 1981. The discovery of a new thecodont from north east Shanxi. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 19: 122–132.

wiki/Arizonasaurus

Youngosuchus – at the base of the Rauisuchia and near the Archosauria

Updated July 25, 2019 by renaming the taxon and deleting the post-crania previously copied from another artist. The resulting phylogenetic nesting did not change.

Vjushkovia = Youngosuchus is considered an Early-Middle Triassic erythrosuchid and indeed it could be considered as such since it is a descendant of the erythrosuchids. In the large reptile tree Youngosuchus was more derived than erythrosuchids and Euparkeria, Riojasuchus and Ornithosuchus. It nested at the base of the Rauisuchia and this clade nested at the base of the Archosauria  (crocs + dinos) and all intervening taxa.

Figure 1. Vjushkovia = Youngosuchus. This largely overlooked taxon is an erythrosuchid descendant that was ancestral to the Rauisuchia, the Aetosauria and the Archosauria. 

Figure 1. Vjushkovia = Youngosuchus. This largely overlooked taxon is an erythrosuchid descendant that was ancestral to the Rauisuchia, the Aetosauria and the Archosauria.

Other than here,
Youngosuchus/Vjushkovia has not gotten a lot of press. And that’s too bad considering its importance at the “crossroads” of the Archosauria and Rauisuchia. Wiki reports, “The ankle does not have the large calcaneal “heel” that characterizes those two clades [ornithosuchids and rauisuchids) and marks the origin of the Archosauria.” Not sure why they said this about the archosaur ankle, because the basal archosaur ankle is not enlarged. It does become enlarged by convergence in poposaur dinosaurs and in derived crocs, like Protosuchus.

Figure 2. Skull and neck of Vjushkovia/ Youngosuchus.

Figure 2. Skull and neck of Vjushkovia/ Youngosuchus.

All descendants of Youngosuchus/Vjushkovia
have a longer pubis and ischium, (check out Decuriasuchus, for instance) so there is a likely transitional taxon that looks like Vjushkovia, but with a deeper pelvis that we haven’t found yet. This morphology also indicates a more erect set of hind limbs (again, like all of its descendant taxa). So at this point we’re taking the first tentative steps in the gradual accumulation of bipedal traits in derived taxa like basal crocs and basal dinosaurs.

I’d like to know more about Vjushkovia if any more data is available.

References
Huene F von 1960. Ein grosser Pseudosuchier aus der Orenurger Trias. Palaeontographica Abteilung A 114:105-111

wiki/Vjushkovia — this link now redirects elsewhere

The skull of Ticinosuchus. Need confirmation, guys!

The skull of Ticinosuchus (Fig. 1) is a crushed mess. Many have looked at it. Many have shrugged their shoulders. Others have cried.

Ticinosuchus is widely considered an early (Middle Triassic) rauisuchid, smaller than most others.

The skull of Ticinosuchus colorized using DGS

Figure 1. The skull of Ticinosuchus colorized using DGS. Someone else should either duplicate or invalidate these identities and reconstruction. Let’s figure out this key taxon. Click for more data.

Some elements are easy to identify. Others defy identity.
This is a plea for someone else to identify the ALL the parts present in the skull to see if the second interpretation validates partially or completely the present interpretation.

Colorized elements restored to a best fit reconstruction of the skull of Ticinosuchus. Note the toothless premaxilla. This and dozens of other traits nest Ticinosuchus at the base of the Aetosauria.

Figure 2. Colorized elements restored to a best fit reconstruction of the skull of Ticinosuchus. Note the toothless premaxilla. This and dozens of other traits nest Ticinosuchus at the base of the Aetosauria.

The present interpretation demonstrates a close affinity with Aetosauria, a clade that had previously gone unconnected to other reptile groups.

Please submit or publish your own reconstruction and restoration of this enigma. Let’s see what you come up with.

References
Krebs B 1965. Ticinosuchus ferox nov. gen. nov. sp. Ein neuer Pseudosuchier aus der Trias des Monte San Giorgio. Schweizerische Palaontologische Abhandlungen 81:1-140.
Lautenschlager S and Desojo JB 2011. Reassessment of the Middle Triassic rauisuchian archosaurs Ticinosuchus ferox and Stagonosuchus nyassicus. Paläontologische Zeitschrift Online First DOI: 10.1007/s12542-011-0105-1

wiki/Ticinosuchus