Certain physical traits previously thought to be unique to dinosaurs evolved much earlier, a new study suggests. Fossil analysis of a newly described species, named Teleocrater rhadinus, places this carnivorous animal in a new spot on the evolutionary tree, directly after the split between birds and crocodilians. Teleocrater marks the first of an entirely new clade of reptiles, Aphanosauria, which possesses both transitional physical bird-crocodylian characteristics, such as a crocodilian-like ankle joint, and classic dinosaur features in limb proportion and body size.
Sterling J. Nesbitt, Richard J. Butler, Martín D. Ezcurra, Paul M. Barrett, Michelle R. Stocker, Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Roger M. H. Smith, Christian A. Sidor, Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki, Andrey G. Sennikov & Alan J. Charig
Sterling Nesbitt, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States, Email: email@example.com
Original paper published in Nature on April 12, 2017.