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Thalattosuchians

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Thalattosuchians

Thalattosuchia
Temporal range: 195–136Ma
Sinemurian - Valanginian
Dakosaurus, a metriorhynchid.
Families

Thalattosuchia is the name given to a clade of marine crocodylomorphs from the Early Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous that had a cosmopolitan distribution. They are colloquially referred to as marine crocodiles or sea crocodiles, though they are not members of Crocodilia.

The term Thalattosuchia was coined by Fraas in 1901.[2] Various authors considered Thalattosuchia an infraorder or a suborder within "Mesosuchia". However, the term "Mesosuchia" is a paraphyletic group, and as such is no longer used. For consistency, the Thalattosuchia are here placed at suborder rank, although the order that contains it is unnamed.

Since Buffetaut (1982) demonstrated the shared characteristics of the early forms of Metriorhynchidae and Teleosauridae, Thalattosuchia has consisted of these two families.[3] Some of the early members of Teleosauridae have been discovered in non-marine deposits suggesting thalattosuchians "moved" from being semi-aquatic freshwater forms to fully marine forms.[3] The systematics of the genus Pelagosaurus are confused, with differencing topologies placing it as either a teleosaurid,[4] or as the sister taxon to a Teleosauridae + Metriorhynchidae clade. Others considered Pelagosaurus to be a basal metriorhynchid.[3]

References

Suggested further reading

  • Fraas, E. (1902). Die Meer-Krocodilier (Thalattosuchia) des oberen Jura unter specieller Berücksichtigung von Dacosaurus und Geosaurus. Paleontographica 49: 1-72.

See also

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