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Article: The ontogenetic pattern of neurocentral suture closure in the axial skeleton of Hyperodapedontinae (Archosauromorpha, Rhynchosauria) and its evolutionary implications

Palaeontology - Vol. 64 Part 2 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 64
Part: 3
Publication Date: May 2021
Page(s): 409 427
Author(s): Clara Heinrich, Voltaire D. Paes Neto, Marcel B. Lacerda, Agustín G. Martinelli, Maico S. Fiedler, and Cesar L. Schultz
Addition Information

How to Cite

HEINRICH, C., NETO, V.D.P., LACERDA, M.B., MARTINELLI, A.G., FIEDLER, M.S., SCHULTZ, C.L. 2021. . Palaeontology, 64, 3, 409-427. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12528

Author Information

  • Clara Heinrich - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 91540-000 Porto Alegre RS Brazil
  • Voltaire D. Paes Neto - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geociências Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 91540-000 Porto Alegre RS Brazil
  • Marcel B. Lacerda - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geociências Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 91540-000 Porto Alegre RS Brazil
  • Agustín G. Martinelli - CONICET- Sección Paleontología de Vertebrados Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’ Av. Ángel Gallardo 470 C1405 DJR Buenos Aires Argentina
  • Maico S. Fiedler - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 91540-000 Porto Alegre RS Brazil
  • Cesar L. Schultz - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500 91540-000 Porto Alegre RS Brazil

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 19 April 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 18 December 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 09 July 2020

Funded By

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior. Grant Number: PDSE-88881.187108/2018-01
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico. Grant Numbers: 140449/2016-7, 307711/2017-0
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst

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Wiley Online Library
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Abstract

Understanding the ontogeny of a taxon is a crucial step to properly elucidate its taxonomy and evolution. However, aside from histological data, osteological criteria for assessing maturity are considered lineage specific or controversial. The sequence of neurocentral suture closure of the axial skeleton of extant crocodilians, which occurs in a posterior–anterior sequence, is a non-destructive method used to determine maturity in extinct reptiles. However, its use in extinct archosaurs not closely related to crocodilians is debatable, as the ancestral condition of Archosauria is unknown and variation occurs in timing and sequence orientation within the clade. We have assessed the pattern of neurocentral suture closure of Hyperodapedontinae rhynchosaurs, an early archosauromorph clade distantly related to archosaurs. Unlike extant crocodilians, they exhibit an anterior–posterior sequence neurocentral suture closure. Relative size and other ontogenetic markers suggest that neurocentral closure in the Hyperodapedontinae correlates with aging, although closed sutures were rare in the sample. A high number of open or partially open sutures in mature individuals indicate that they remained open during most of their life. Our study indicates that: (1) the delayed neurocentral closure may be a paedomorphic heterochronic process in Hyperodapedontinae, as it contrasts with the fully closed neurocentral sutures of early diverging non-hyperodapedontine rhynchosaurs; (2) the assumption that open neurocentral sutures indicates immaturity in extinct reptiles is not always correct; and (3) the delayed closure may have originated independently in several archosauromorph lineages, but the ancestral condition of Archosauria probably follows the crocodilian closure pattern.

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