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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The skull of Postosuchus kirkpatricki (Archosauria: Paracrocodyliformes) from the Upper Triassic of the United States

  • Author(s): Weinbaum, Jonathan C.
  • et al.

The skull of Postosuchus kirkpatricki Chatterjee 1985 is known from the holotype and paratype specimens along with disassociated skull elements from several Triassic localities in the southwestern and eastern United States. Recent preparation of the holotype skull allows for more careful examination of the cranial elements and comparison with related taxa. This description indicates that Postosuchus shares several previously unrecognized synapomorphies with crocodylomorphs, including fossae and foramina in the dermatocranium that are not present in other basal pseudosuchians. The sutural arrangements of the skull of Postosuchus presented in this paper differ considerably from previous descriptions, due in part to the reassignment of what was previously considered the prefrontal to the palpebral bone. Also, further preparation of skull elements revealed morphologies that differ from previous descriptions. This new description also indicates a close relationship with Polonosuchus silesiacus Sulej 2005. The only autapomorphic characters of the skull are a distinct, rounded lateral ridge on the maxilla and a foramen present in a large fossa on the anteromedial surface of the maxilla.

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