Temporal range: Middle Jurassic - Late Cretaceous, 167.7–89.3 Ma
|Pholidosaurus meyeri fossil at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin|
Zittel and Eastman, 1902
Pholidosauridae is an extinct family of aquatic neosuchian mesoeucrocodylian crocodylomorphs. Fossils have been found in Europe (Denmark, England, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden), Africa (Algeria, Niger, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia), North America (Canada and the United States) and South America (Brazil and Uruguay). The pholidosaurids first appeared in the fossil record during the Bathonian stage of the Middle Jurassic and became extinct during the Late Turonian stage of the Late Cretaceous.
Sarcosuchus is one of the best known pholidosaurs. It is believed to have attained lengths of up to 12 meters and weighed up to 8 tonnes. One genus, Suchosaurus, once thought to be a pholidosaur, has since been shown to be a spinosaurid theropod dinosaur.
Pholidosauridae is usually considered to be most closely related to the Dyrosauridae. However, the relationship between these families is not fully understood. Pholidosauridae might be monophyletic, paraphyletic or even a polyphyletic in relation to Dyrosauridae. For example, Fortier, Perea & Schultz (2011) found the family to be monophyletic, and include to main lineages: the Elosuchus–Meridiosaurus lineage and the Pholidosaurus lineage. The cladogram below shows their phylogenetic analysis, which is based on an expanded version of Pol and Gasparini (2009) analysis.
de Andrade et al. (2011) recovered a paraphyletic traditional Pholidosauridae. In their analysis the "Elosuchus lineage" was found to be basal to the "Pholidosaurus lineage"+Dyrosauridae. They used the name Elosuchidae for the Elosuchus lineage and restricted Pholidosauridae to its type genus. The following cladogram simplified after their analysis.
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