Project 2651: M. G. Baron, D. B. Norman, P. M. Barrett. 2017. A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution. Nature. 543 (7646):501-506.
Specimen: † Herrerasaurus (unvouchered)
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For 130 years, dinosaurs have been divided into two distinct clades—Ornithischia and Saurischia. Here we present a hypothesis for the phylogenetic relationships of the major dinosaurian groups that challenges the current consensus concerning early dinosaur evolution and highlights problematic aspects of current cladistic definitions. Our study has found a sister-group relationship between Ornithischia and Theropoda (united in the new clade Ornithoscelida), with Sauropodomorpha and Herrerasauridae (as the redefined Saurischia) forming its monophyletic outgroup. This new tree topology requires redefinition and rediagnosis of Dinosauria and the subsidiary dinosaurian clades. In addition, it forces re-evaluations of early dinosaur cladogenesis and character evolution, suggests that hypercarnivory was acquired independently in herrerasaurids and theropods, and offers an explanation for many of the anatomical features previously regarded as notable convergences between theropods and early ornithischians.

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Article DOI: 10.1038/nature21700

Project DOI: 10.7934/P2651,
This project contains
  • 2 Media
  • 2 Documents
  • 13 Taxa
  • 2 Specimens
Total size of project's media files: 1.31M

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MorphoBank Project 2651
  • Creation Date:
    03 April 2017
  • Publication Date:
    03 April 2017
  • Project views: 7319

    Authors' Institutions

    • Natural History Museum, London

    • University of Cambridge


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