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Araeoscelidians were small animals (less than one meter in length) looking somewhat like lizards, though they are only distantly related to true lizards. They differ from other, earlier sauropsids by their slender limbs, their elongated tail, and of course by the presence of two temporal openings, the feature defining the diapsid condition. In Araeoscelis, only the upper temporal opening remains, thus resulting in a derived euryapsid condition.
Araeoscelidia are known from the Late Carboniferous in the United States (Petrolacosaurus, Spinoaequalis) to the Early Permian in France (Aphelosaurus), Germany (Kadaliosaurus) and the United States (Dictybolos, Zarcasaurus, Araeoscelis). Apart from araeoscelidans, only one other diapsid is known before the Late Permian: Orovenator from the Early Permian of Oklahoma (Reisz et al. 2011).
Brinkman, D. B.; Berman, D. S. & Eberth, D. Z. (1984). "A new araeoscelid reptile, Zarcasaurus tandyderus, from the Culter Formation, (Lower Permian) of north-central New Mexico". New Mexico Geology. 6 (2): 34-39.
Credner, H. (1889). "Die Stegocephalen und Saurier aus dem Rothliegenden des Plauen'schen Grundes bei Dresden. 8 - Kadaliosaurus priscus Cred". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft. 41: 319-342.
Evans, S. E. (1988). "The early history and relationships of the Diapsida". In Benton, M. J. (ed.). The phylogeny and classification of the tetrapods. Volume 1: Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds. Systematics Association Special Volume 35 A. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 221-260. ISBN0-19-857705-2. |volume= has extra text (help)
Falconnet, J. & Steyer, J.-S. (2007). "Revision, osteology and locomotion of Aphelosaurus, an enigmatic reptile from the Lower Permian of France". Journal of Morphology (abstract of the 8th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Paris, July 2007): 38.
Gervais, P. (1859). Zoologie et paléontologie française (2nd ed.). Paris: Bertrand.
May, W. J. & Hall, J. D. (2002). "Geology and vertebrate fauna of a new site in the Wellington Formation (Lower Permian) of Northern Oklahoma". Oklahoma Geology Notes. 62 (2): 63-66.
Olson, E. C. (1970). "New and little known genera and species of vertebrates from the Lower Permian of Oklahoma". Fieldiana: Geology. 18: 359-434.
Peabody, F. E. (1952). "Petrolacosaurus kansensis Lane, a Pennsylvanian reptile from Kansas". University of Kansas Paleontological Contribution. 10: 1-41.
Reisz, R. R. (1981). "A diapsid reptile from the Pennsylvanian of Kansas". Special Publication of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas. 7: 1-74.
Reisz, R. R.; Berman, D. S. & Scott, D. (1984). "The anatomy and relationships of the Lower Permian reptile Araeoscelis". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 4 (1): 57-67. doi:10.1080/02724634.1984.10011986.