Middle Triassic - Recent, 245–0Ma (possible Early Triassic record)
|The early dinosauromorph Dromomeron|
Dinosauromorpha is the name of a clade of archosaurs that includes the order Dinosauria (dinosaurs), and other closely related animals. Basal forms include Saltopus, Marasuchus, the perhaps identical Lagosuchus, the lagerpetonids Lagerpeton from the Ladinian of Argentina and Dromomeron from the Norian of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and the silesaurids, which include Silesaurus from the Carnian of Poland, Eucoelophysis from the Carnian-Norian of New Mexico, Lewisuchus and the perhaps identical Pseudolagosuchus from the Ladinian of Argentina, Sacisaurus from the Norian of Brazil, Technosaurus from the Carnian of Texas, Asilisaurus from the Anisian of Tanzania, and Diodorus from the Carnian(?) to Norian of Morocco. Birds are the only surviving dinosauromorphs.
The name was coined by Michael J. Benton in 1984. The first clade definitions were by Paul Sereno in 1991 who defined the concept as a node clade: the last common ancestor of Lagerpeton chanarensis, Marasuchus lilloensis, Pseudolagosuchus major and the Dinosauria (including Aves) and all its descendants.
Dinosauromorphs appeared by the Anisian stage of the Middle Triassic around 242 to 244 million years ago, splitting from other ornithodires. Early Triassic footprints reported in October 2010 from the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) Mountains of Poland may belong to a dinosauromorph. If so, the origin of dinosauromorphs would be pushed back into the Early Olenekian, around 249 Ma. The oldest Polish footprints are from a small quadrupedal animal named Prorotodactylus, but footprints belonging to the ichnogenus Sphingopus that have been found from Early Anisian strata show that moderately large bipedal dinosauromorphs had appeared by 246 Ma. The tracks show that the dinosaur lineage appeared soon after the Permian-Triassic extinction event. Their age suggests that the rise of dinosaurs was slow and drawn out across much of the Triassic.
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- Dinosaurs' slow rise to dominance 19 July 2007, BBC News, accessed July 2007