Associated skeletons of a new middle Triassic “Rauisuchia” from Brazil
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- França, M.A.G., Ferigolo, J. & Langer, M.C. Naturwissenschaften (2011) 98: 389. doi:10.1007/s00114-011-0782-3
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For more than 30 million years, in early Mesozoic Pangea, “rauisuchian” archosaurs were the apex predators in most terrestrial ecosystems, but their biology and evolutionary history remain poorly understood. We describe a new “rauisuchian” based on ten individuals found in a single locality from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) Santa Maria Formation of southern Brazil. Nine articulated and associated skeletons were discovered, three of which have nearly complete skulls. Along with sedimentological and taphonomic data, this suggests that those highly successful predators exhibited some kind of intraspecific interaction. Other monotaxic assemblages of Triassic archosaurs are Late Triassic (Norian-Rhaetian) in age, approximately 10 million years younger than the material described here. Indeed, the studied assemblage may represent the earliest evidence of gregariousness among archosaurs, adding to our knowledge on the origin of a behavior pattern typical of extant taxa.