Phytosauria

Phytosauria

[‚fīd·ə′sȯr·ē·ə]
(paleontology)
A suborder of Late Triassic long-snouted aquatic thecodonts resembling crocodiles but with posteriorly located external nostrils, absence of a secondary palate, and a different structure of the pelvic and pectoral girdles.

Phytosauria

 

an order of extinct reptiles of the superorder Thecodontia, subclass Archosauria. The phytosaurs, which lived during the late Triassic, measured as much as 5–6 m in length and closely resembled crocodiles, both externally and in the details of their body structure. Most scientists consider this similarity to be an example of convergence; however, some think the phytosaurs were ancestors of the crocodile.

The phytosaurs had elongated snouts with the narial openings placed far back; the eye sockets were turned upward. The hind extremities were only slightly longer than the front extremities. The body was covered with a well-developed leathery armor. Members of the order lived in freshwater basins and fed mainly on fish. Their remains have been found in Upper Triassic deposits in Western Europe, North America, and Asia.

References in periodicals archive ?
The absence of claws on digits IV and V of both manus and pes may represent synapomorphies at some level within the Archosauria, perhaps at the level of Pseudosuchia to the exclusion of Phytosauria.