Comparative Vertebrate Morphology by Douglas Webster and Molly Webster (Auth.)

By Douglas Webster and Molly Webster (Auth.)

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The subclass Archosauria, the most diverse of all, included a great variety of terrestrial, arboreal, and aerial forms. In this subclass were the "ruling reptiles" of the latter Mesozoic, such as the bipedal, carnivorous Tyrannosaurus, the herbivorous Brontosaurus, the tanklike Ankylosaurus, the plated Stegosaurus, and the three-horned Triceratops. In addition there were many small, delicate, bipedal and often arboreal archosaurs and the pterosaurs, the only flying reptiles. But of all the orders that developed in this tremendous adaptive radiation of archosaurs, the only one which survived to modern times is the Crocodilia, which includes alligators and crocodiles.

General morphology of an amphibian pharyngula. 40 How we got here: vertebrate phylogeny rise medially to smooth muscles and connective tissue and laterally to striated muscles and connective tissue. This pharyngula stage is of particular significance to the evolutionary morphologist because in it the generalized anlagen (embryonic precursors) of tissues and organs are represented similarly in all vertebrates. Beyond this stage development in any species is accompanied by the emergence of particular characters setting it apart from other species, and the further ontogenetic development proceeds, the more species-specific and individual-specific the animal becomes.

The stem group was the order Cotylosauria, which, although structurally similar to the Labyrinthodontia, had some further adaptations to terrestrial life. For one, the vertebral column was connected to the pelvic girdle by two sacral vertebrae instead of one. This stronger connection could accommodate larger limbs and more Transition from water to land 31 vigorous motion. There was a neck, with several cervical vertebrae; like modern reptiles, but unlike fishes and labyrinthodonts, cotylosaurs could move their heads independently of the rest of their bodies.

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