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Dinosaurs, But Not Only: Vertebrate Evolution in the Mesozoic


Tschopp, Emanuel; Araújo, Ricardo; Brusatte, Stephen L; Hendrickx, Christophe; Macaluso, Loredana; Maidment, Susannah C R; Rabi, Márton; Rashid, Dana; Romano, Carlo; Williamson, Thomas (2020). Dinosaurs, But Not Only: Vertebrate Evolution in the Mesozoic. In: Martinetto, Edoardo; Tschopp, Emanuel; Gastaldo, Robert A. Nature through Time Virtual field trips through the Nature of the past. Cham: Springer, Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

If we imagine walking through Mesozoic lands, we would be able to observe vertebrates with peculiar combinations of morphological traits, some of which would seem to be intermediary to animals seen today. We would witness a terrestrial vertebrate fauna dominated by dinosaurs of various sizes and diversity, accompanied by many other animal groups that often are overlooked. Current research suggests that many of the main vertebrate clades existing today originated or diversified sometime in the Triassic or Early to Middle Jurassic. Herein, we profile some of the major transformations in both terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate evolution during the Mesozoic. We highlight: the appearance of features that allowed sauropod dinosaurs to become the largest animals to ever walk on Earth’s continents, the appearance of herbivory among the usually carnivorous theropod dinosaurs, and we follow the specific changes that led to the evolution of avian flight. Our Mesozoic tour across the globe will allow us to see how different evolutionary forces led to convergent shifts to quadrupedality in ornithischian dinosaurs and to an aquatic lifestyle in turtles, crocodiles, and plesiosaurs. Last, but not least, we examine changes in the Mesozoic fauna linked to the rise of mammals, and the diversification patterns in several clades of fishes after the End-Permian Mass Extinction.

Abstract

If we imagine walking through Mesozoic lands, we would be able to observe vertebrates with peculiar combinations of morphological traits, some of which would seem to be intermediary to animals seen today. We would witness a terrestrial vertebrate fauna dominated by dinosaurs of various sizes and diversity, accompanied by many other animal groups that often are overlooked. Current research suggests that many of the main vertebrate clades existing today originated or diversified sometime in the Triassic or Early to Middle Jurassic. Herein, we profile some of the major transformations in both terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate evolution during the Mesozoic. We highlight: the appearance of features that allowed sauropod dinosaurs to become the largest animals to ever walk on Earth’s continents, the appearance of herbivory among the usually carnivorous theropod dinosaurs, and we follow the specific changes that led to the evolution of avian flight. Our Mesozoic tour across the globe will allow us to see how different evolutionary forces led to convergent shifts to quadrupedality in ornithischian dinosaurs and to an aquatic lifestyle in turtles, crocodiles, and plesiosaurs. Last, but not least, we examine changes in the Mesozoic fauna linked to the rise of mammals, and the diversification patterns in several clades of fishes after the End-Permian Mass Extinction.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:31 Aug 2020 09:16
Last Modified:31 Aug 2020 09:16
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:9783030350574
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-35058-1_7
Official URL:https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-35058-1_7

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