Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 357–381 | Cite as

Reassessment of the Middle Triassic rauisuchian archosaurs Ticinosuchus ferox and Stagonosuchus nyassicus

  • Stephan Lautenschlager
  • Julia Brenda Desojo
Review Article


The Middle Triassic (Anisian) rauisuchian archosaurs Ticinosuchus ferox and Stagonosuchus nyassicus are two of the earliest representatives of this group and therefore of special importance for our understanding of the evolution and early diversification of Rauisuchia. Both taxa are well preserved and, in the case of the holotype of Ticinosuchus ferox, nearly complete and articulated. However, the original descriptions and recent revisions of the material do not sufficiently cover all aspects of their osteology. We identify new skull elements previously unknown for Ticinosuchus ferox and present new reconstructions of the pectoral and pelvic girdle elements. Vertebral laminae and fossae are described for the first time in both Ticinosuchus ferox and Stagonosuchus nyassicus. Newly recognised character states of Stagonosuchus nyassicus include the presence of additional infraprezygapophyseal and infrapostzygapophyseal laminae in the cervical vertebrae, a hyposphene-hypantrum articulation in the dorsal vertebrae and a fibula with a posteromedial depression. Furthermore, we provide a revised and emended diagnosis for both taxa, including several autapomorphies for Stagonosuchus nyassicus (e.g. a boss-like protuberance on the postacetabular process of the iliac blade and a marked short dorsolateral crest on the proximal ischium). We review the taxonomic status of a further specimen of Ticinosuchus ferox, as well as material related to Stagonosuchus nyassicus from the Manda Beds of Tanzania. Additionally, we discuss the distribution and possible function of rauisuchian characters, such as accessory neural spines in the caudal vertebrae, in these and other rauisuchian taxa.


Archosauria Rauisuchia Pseudosuchia Grenzbitumenzone Manda Beds 


Aufgrund ihres stratigraphischen Alters sind die beiden Rauisuchier Ticinosuchus ferox und Stagonosuchus nyassicus aus der Mittleren Trias (Anisium) für das Verständnis der Evolution und frühen Diversifikation der Rauisuchier von besonderer Bedeutung. Obwohl beide Taxa gut erhalten sind, und der Holotyp von Ticinosuchus ferox fast vollständig und artikuliert ist, weisen sowohl die Erstbeschreibungen, als auch neuere Bearbeitungen, Lücken auf. Wir beschreiben bisher unbekannte Schädelelemente von Ticinosuchus ferox und präsentieren neue Rekonstruktionen des Schulter- und Beckengürtels. Erstmals beschreiben wir detailliert die Lamina und Fossa der Hals- und Rückenwirbel beider Taxa, sowie neu identifizierte Merkmalen von Stagonosuchus nyassicus. Dazu zählen: Zusätzliche infraprezygapophyseale und infrapostzygapophyseale Lamina in den Halswirbeln, Hyposphen-Hypantrum-Gelenkungen in den Rückenwirbeln und eine charakteristische posteromediale Vertiefung in der Fibula. Desweiteren präsentieren wir eine erweiterte und revidierte Diagnose für beide Taxa, sowie einige Autapomorphien für Stagonosuchus nyassicus (z.B. eine buckelartige Wölbung am postacetabularen Fortsatz des Iliums und ein dorsolateral verlaufender Grat am proximalen Abschnitt des Ischiums). Außerdem geben wir einen Überblick über ein weiteres Exemplar von Ticinosuchus ferox sowie über weiteres Material von Stagonosuchus nyassicus aus den Manda Beds aus Tansania und dessen taxonomische Zuordnung. Zusätzlich diskutieren wir die Verteilung und mögliche Funktion spezieller Merkmale, wie z.B. ein akzessorischer Dornfortsätze der Schwanzwirbel, bei Rauisuchiern.


Archosauria Rauisuchia Pseudosuchia Grenzbitumenzone Manda Beds 



We thank Heinz Furrer (PIMUZ), Alexander Hohloch (GPIT), Oliver Rauhut (BSPG), Rainer Schoch (SMNS), Jaime Powell (PVT), Ricardo Martinez (Instituto y Museo de Ciencias Naturales, San Juan, Argentina), Emilio Vaccari (Universidad Nacional de La Rioja, La Rioja, Argentina) and Sandra Chapman (NHM) for granting access to the collections and making their specimens available to us for comparative and descriptive purposes. Philipe Havlik (GPIT) kindly provided new collection numbers for Stagonosuchus nyassicus. We further thank Tomas Sulej (Instytut Paleobiologii PAN, Warsaw) for helpful comments and valuable information, as well as the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano for the generous provision of references. Dave Hone (Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, Beijing) and Richard Butler (BSPG) critically reviewed and considerably improved the manuscript. This study was partially supported by the Alexander Humboldt Foundation and a Synthesys grant to JBD.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Lautenschlager
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julia Brenda Desojo
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und GeologieMünchenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Sección Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina

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