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Temporal range: Middle Triassic, Anisian–Ladinian
Ticinosuchus ferox 455.jpg
Ticinosuchus ferox fossil
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Pseudosuchia
Clade: Suchia
Genus: Ticinosuchus
Krebs, 1965
T. ferox
Binomial name
Ticinosuchus ferox
Krebs, 1965
Life restoration Ticinosuchus BW.jpg
Life restoration
Cheirotherium tracefossil, which might have been made by Ticinosuchus, displayed in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Cheirotherium prints possibly Ticinosuchus.JPG
Cheirotherium tracefossil, which might have been made by Ticinosuchus, displayed in Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Ticinosuchus is an extinct genus of suchian archosaur from the Middle Triassic (Anisian - Ladinian) of Switzerland and Italy. [1]


One of only a handful of fossil reptiles that have been found in Switzerland, Ticinosuchus (meaning "Ticino crocodile" due to its origin from the Swiss canton Ticino) was about 3 metres (10 ft) long, and its whole body, even the belly, was covered in thick, armoured scutes. These scutes were sometimes considered to have been staggered, alternating between several rows. [2] However, some studies refute this claim, instead purporting that the scutes were aligned in neat rows, with a one-to-one assignment of scutes to vertebrae. [3] The structure of the hips shows that its legs were placed under the body almost vertically. Coupled with the development of a calcaneus and a specialized ankle joint, this would have made Ticinosuchus a fast runner, unlike most earlier reptiles. [4] Ticinosuchus is thought to be very close to or possible even the same species that made the Cheirotherium trace fossils found in Germany. It too shows a narrow track-way, similar to that of Ticinosuchus. It is one of the most famous fossils of Besano. [5]

The broken skull of the holotype Ticinosuchus ferox head 45.jpg
The broken skull of the holotype

Fish scales have been preserved in the abdomen of the specimen. This was likely indicative of a piscivorous diet. [6] Ticinosuchus shares many similarities with paracrocodylomorphs, such as certain adaptations of the ischium [1] and possibly (but not certainly) hyposphene-hypantrum articulations. [7] [8]

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"Rauisuchia" is a paraphyletic group of mostly large and carnivorous Triassic archosaurs. Rauisuchians are a category of archosaurs within a larger group called Pseudosuchia, which encompasses all archosaurs more closely related to crocodilians than to birds and other dinosaurs. First named in the 1940s, Rauisuchia was a name exclusive to Triassic archosaurs which were generally large, carnivorous, and quadrupedal with a pillar-erect hip posture, though exceptions exist for all of these traits. Rauisuchians, as a traditional taxonomic group, were considered distinct from other Triassic archosaur groups such as early dinosaurs, phytosaurs, aetosaurs, and crocodylomorphs.

Phytosaurs are an extinct group of large, mostly semiaquatic Late Triassic archosauriform reptiles. Phytosaurs belong to the order Phytosauria. and are sometimes referred to as parasuchians. Phytosauria, Parasuchia, Parasuchidae, and Phytosauridae have often been considered equivalent groupings containing the same species. Some recent studies have offered a more nuanced approach, defining Parasuchidae and Phytosauridae as nested clades within Phytosauria as a whole. Phytosaurs were long-snouted and heavily armoured, bearing a remarkable resemblance to modern crocodilians in size, appearance, and lifestyle, as an example of convergence or parallel evolution. The name "phytosaur" means "plant reptile", as the first fossils of phytosaurs were mistakenly thought to belong to plant eaters.

<i>Euparkeria</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Euparkeria is an extinct genus of archosauriform reptile from the Triassic of South Africa. Euparkeria is close to the ancestry of Archosauria, the reptile group that includes crocodilians, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs.

<i>Scleromochlus</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Scleromochlus is an extinct genus of small pterosauromorph archosaurs from the Late Triassic period. The genus contains the type and only species Scleromochlus taylori, named by Arthur Smith Woodward in 1907.

<i>Riojasuchus</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Riojasuchus is an extinct genus of ornithosuchid archosaur from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Argentina. Ornithosuchidae was a widespread family of facultatively bipedal pseudosuchians with adaptations for scavenging. Riojasuchus is notable as one of the youngest and most complete members of the family. The type and only known species, Riojasuchus tenuisceps, was named and described by José Bonaparte in 1967. It was one of the first of many well-preserved Triassic archosaurs to be discovered in Argentina. The holotype specimen, PVL 3827, was found in the Los Colorados Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina.

<i>Lewisuchus</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Lewisuchus is a genus of archosaur that lived during the Late Triassic. As a silesaurid dinosauriform, it was a member of the group of reptiles most commonly considered to be the closest relatives of dinosaurs. Lewisuchus was about 1 metre (3.3 ft) long. Fossils have been found in the Chañares Formation of Argentina. It exhibited osteoderms along its back.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prestosuchidae</span> Extinct family of reptiles

Prestosuchidae is a polyphyletic grouping of carnivorous archosaurs that lived during the Triassic. They were large active terrestrial apex predators, ranging from around 2.5 to 7 metres in length. They succeeded the Erythrosuchidae as the largest archosaurs of their time. While resembling erythrosuchids in size and some features of the skull and skeleton, they were more advanced in their erect posture and crocodile-like ankle, indicating more efficient gait. "Prestosuchids" flourished throughout the whole of the middle, and the early part of the late Triassic, and fossils are so far known from Europe, India, Africa (Tanzania), Argentina, and Paleorrota in Brazil. However, for a long time experts disagree regarding the phylogenetic relationships of the group, what genera should be included, and whether indeed the "Prestosuchidae" constitute a distinct family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santa Maria Formation</span> Geologic formation in Brazil

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Yarasuchus is an extinct genus of avemetatarsalian archosaur that lived during the Anisian stage of the Middle Triassic of India. The genus was named and described in 2005 from a collection of disarticulated but fairly complete fossil material found from the Middle Triassic Yerrapalli Formation. The material is thought to be from two individuals, possibly three, with one being much more complete and articulated than the other. The type and only species is Y. deccanensis. Yarasuchus was a quadruped roughly 2–2.5 metres (6.6–8.2 ft) long, with an elongated neck and tall spines on its vertebrae. Unlike other quadrupedal Triassic reptiles, the limbs and shoulders of Yarasuchus were slender, and more like those of ornithodirans.

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Fasolasuchus is an extinct genus of loricatan. Fossils have been found in the Los Colorados Formation of the Ischigualasto-Villa Unión Basin in northwestern Argentina that date back to the Norian stage of the Late Triassic, making it one of the last "rauisuchians" to have existed before the order became extinct at the end of the Triassic.

Sterling Nesbitt is an American paleontologist best known for his work on the origin and early evolutionary patterns of archosaurs. He is currently an associate professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Geosciences.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silesauridae</span> Extinct family of dinosaur-like reptiles

Silesauridae is an extinct family of Triassic dinosauriforms. It is most commonly considered to be a clade of non-dinosaur dinosauriforms, and the sister group of dinosaurs. Some studies have instead suggested that most or all silesaurids comprised an early diverging clade or a paraphyletic grade within ornithischian dinosaurs. Silesaurids have a consistent general body plan, with a fairly long neck and legs and possibly quadrupedal habits, but most silesaurids are heavily fragmentary nonetheless. Furthermore, they occupied a variety of ecological niches, with early silesaurids being carnivorous and later taxa having adaptations for specialized herbivory. As indicated by the contents of referred coprolites, Silesaurus may have been insectivorous, feeding selectively on small beetles and other arthropods.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suchia</span> Clade of reptiles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doswelliidae</span> Extinct family of reptiles

Doswelliidae is an extinct family of carnivorous archosauriform reptiles that lived in North America and Europe during the Middle to Late Triassic period. Long represented solely by the heavily-armored reptile Doswellia, the family's composition has expanded since 2011, although two supposed South American doswelliids were later redescribed as erpetosuchids. Doswelliids were not true archosaurs, but they were close relatives and some studies have considered them among the most derived non-archosaurian archosauriforms. They may have also been related to the Proterochampsidae, a South American family of crocodile-like archosauriforms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paracrocodylomorpha</span> Clade of reptiles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manda Formation</span>

The Manda Formation is a Middle Triassic (Anisian?) or possibly Late Triassic (Carnian?) geologic formation in Tanzania. It preserves fossils of many terrestrial vertebrates from the Triassic, including some of the earliest dinosauromorph archosaurs. The formation is often considered to be Anisian in age according to general tetrapod biochronology hypotheses and correlations to the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone of South Africa. However, some recent studies cast doubt to this age, suggesting that parts deposits may actually be younger (Carnian) in age.

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  1. 1 2 Sterling J. Nesbitt (2011). "The Early Evolution of Archosaurs: Relationships and the Origin of Major Clades". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 352: 1–292. doi: 10.1206/352.1 . hdl:2246/6112. S2CID   83493714.
  2. Nesbitt, Sterling J.; Sidor, Christian A.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Smith, Roger M. H.; Tsuji, Linda A. (2014-09-19). "A new archosaur from the Manda beds (Anisian, Middle Triassic) of southern Tanzania and its implications for character state optimizations at Archosauria and Pseudosuchia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34 (6): 1357–1382. doi:10.1080/02724634.2014.859622. ISSN   0272-4634. S2CID   129558756.
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