A tiny Triassic saurian from Connecticut and the early evolution of the diapsid feeding apparatus

Adam C. Pritchard, Jacques A. Gauthier, Michael Hanson, Gaberiel Bever, Bhart Anjan S. Bhullar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Following the Permo-Triassic Extinction, large-bodied diapsid reptiles - with a body length >1 m - rapidly expanded their ecological roles. This diversification is reflected in enormous disparity in the development of the rostrum and adductor chamber. However, it is unclear how marked the diversity of the feeding apparatus was in contemporary small-bodied diapsids. Here we describe the remarkably small skull (2.5 cm long) of a saurian reptile, Colobops noviportensis, gen. et sp. nov., from the Triassic New Haven Arkose of Connecticut, USA. The taxon possesses an exceptionally reinforced snout and strikingly expanded supratemporal fossae for adductor musculature relative to any known Mesozoic or Recent diapsid of similar size. Our phylogenetic analyses support C. noviportensis as an early diverging pan-archosaur. Colobops noviportensis reveals extraordinary disparity of the feeding apparatus in small-bodied early Mesozoic diapsids, and a suite of morphologies, functionally related to a powerful bite, unknown in any small-bodied diapsid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1213
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A tiny Triassic saurian from Connecticut and the early evolution of the diapsid feeding apparatus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this