Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 197–210 | Cite as

Redescription and phylogenetic relationships of Megachirella wachtleri Renesto et Posenato, 2003 (Reptilia, Diapsida)

  • Silvio RenestoEmail author
  • Massimo Bernardi
Research Paper


Megachirella wachtleri Renesto et Posenato, 2003, a well preserved partial reptile skeleton from the Middle Triassic of the Dolomites (N. Italy), was originally considered a lepidosauromorph, but no phylogenetic analysis was carried out. Consequently, the taxon was overlooked in later phylogenetic analyses of the Diapsida. Here, the holotype and only known specimen of M. wachtleri is redescribed, allowing an investigation of its phylogenetic relationships. Phylogenetic analyses confirm that Megachirella is a lepidosauromorph close to the crown group lepidosaurs (Squamata + Rhynchocephalia). Megachirella enhances our knowledge of the series of morphological modifications that led to the origin of the Lepidosauria, the most diverse clade of extant reptiles.


Megachirella wachtleri Triassic Diapsida Lepidosauromorpha Phylogeny 


Megachirella wachtleri Renesto et Posenato, 2003, ein gut erhaltenes Teilskelett aus der mittleren Trias der Dolomiten (Nord-Italien) wurde ursprünglich den Lepidosauromorphen zugeordnet, auch wenn keine phylogentische Analyse durchgeführt wurde. In späteren phylogenetischen Studien wurde M. wachtleri daher völlig außer Acht gelassen. Eine Neubearbeitung des Holotypus und einzigen Exemplars von M. wachtleri ermöglicht es, die phylogenetische Position der Art neu zu analysieren. Die phylogenetische Studie bestätigt, dass die Art zu den Lepidosauromorpha gehört und nah an der Krongruppe der Lepidosauren (Squamata + Rhynchocephalia) steht. Megachirella erweitert unsere Kenntnisse über den Ablauf der morphologischen Veränderungen, die zum Ursprung der Lepidosaurier geführt hat, der variabelsten Gruppe rezenter Reptilien.


Megachirella wachtleri Triassic Diapsida Lepidosauromorpha Phylogenie 



Our sincere thanks to E. Kustatscher (Museo di Scienze Naturali dell’Alto Adige/Naturmuseum Südtirol, Italy) for access to the specimen and for translation into German of the summary (together with K. Bauer, same Institution), and to S.E. Evans (University College of London, UK) for access to unpublished data and permission to reproduce it. We also thank M.J. Benton (University of Bristol, UK) for useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript and linguistic revision. M. Caldwell (University of Alberta, Canada) and M. Laurin (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France) are thanked for their constructive reviews, and the Editor O.W.M. Rauhut (Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Munich) for useful comments and corrections. This study was supported by the Promotion of Educational Policies, University and Research Department of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol as part of the project “The Permian–Triassic ecological crisis in the Dolomites: extinction and recovery dynamics in Terrestrial Ecosystems”.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DISTA Dipartimento di Scienze Teoriche ed ApplicateUniversità degli Studi dell’InsubriaVareseItaly
  2. 2.Museo delle ScienzeTrentoItaly
  3. 3.School of Earth SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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