Morphological Diversity and Biogeography of Procolophonids

Cisneros, J. C., and M. Ruta. 2010. Morphological diversity and biogeography of procolophonids (Amniota: Parareptilia). Journal of Systematic Paleontology 8:607-625. DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2010.491986.

Abstract - A recent phylogenetic analysis of procolophonid parareptiles is used as the basis for a study of morphological diversity (disparity) in these amniotes. Disparity values are compared in three groups of procolophonids (a paraphyletic series of basal taxa and two monophyletic sister groups: procolophonines and leptopleuronines), two ecophenotypic assemblages (one based upon inferred diet - non high-fibre versus high-fibre species; the other based upon cranial sculpture - non horned versus horned species), and two temporal assemblages (Lower Triassic versus Middle and Upper Triassic). The mean disparity values are comparable in the case of temporal and ecophenotypic assemblages. High-fibre species are marginally less disparate than non high-fibre species. The combined Middle and Upper Triassic species are slightly less disparate than Lower Triassic species. Finally, horned species are only slightly more disparate than non-horned species. The paraphyletic series of basal taxa and the leptopleuronines show similar disparity values, marginally higher than those for procolophonines. Phylogenetic analysis is also used to reconstruct the biogeographical history of procolophonids. Both ancestral area analysis and dispersal-vicariance analysis show that South Africa was the most likely ancestral area for procolophonids as a whole. North China - either as a single area or in combination with Russia or South Africa - was the most likely ancestral area for the leptopleuronine-procolophonine clade.

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