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n. Any member of the family ''(taxlink Phytosauridae family noshow=1)'' or ''(taxlink Parasuchidae family noshow=1)'', a group of large semi-aquatic predatory archosaurs, resembling modern crocodiles, that flourished during the Late Triassic period.


Phytosaurs are an extinct group of large semi-aquatic Late Triassic archosauriform reptiles. Phytosaurs belong to the family Phytosauridae and the order Phytosauria. Phytosauria and Phytosauridae are often considered to be equivalent groupings containing the same species, but some studies have identified non-phytosaurid phytosaurians. Phytosaurs were long-snouted and heavily armoured, bearing a remarkable resemblance to modern crocodilians in size, appearance, and lifestyle, as an example of convergence or parallel evolution. The name "phytosaur" means "plant reptile", as the first fossils of phytosaurs were mistakenly thought to belong to plant eaters. The name is misleading because the sharp teeth in phytosaur jaws clearly show that they were predators.

For many years phytosaurs were considered to be the most basal group of crocodile-line archosaurs, meaning that they were thought to be more closely related to the crocodilians than to birds (the other living group of archosaurs). Recent studies of the evolutionary relationships of early archosauriforms suggest that phytosaurs evolved before the split between crocodile- and bird-line archosaurs and are the sister taxon of Archosauria.

Phytosaurs had a nearly global distribution during the Triassic. Fossils have been recovered from Europe, North America, India, Morocco, Thailand, Brazil, Greenland and Madagascar. Fossils attributed to phytosaurs have been found in Early Jurassic rocks, possibly extending their temporal range beyond the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

Usage examples of "phytosaur".

Sure enough, on a meter-high bank on the edge of the river was a big pseudo-crocodile, which Ngata identified as a phytosaur, dozing under a small conifer.

After the other lambs had taken all the pictures they wanted, Ngata fell to studying the guts of the phytosaur as Carlyle and Smith uncovered them.

Since you, Desmond, have already got the phytosaur skin, I hereby give the carcass of the carnosaur to Sir Edred, to do with as he likes.

These plants, as well as the great abundance of aquatic forms such as the amphibians and the phytosaurs, suggest a wet and tropical environment in Chinle times.

Both contain small coelurosaurs, aetosaurs, dicynodonts, phytosaurs, and rauisuchids.

Both contain small coelurosaurs, aetosaurs, dicynodonts, phytosaurs, and rauisuchids.

Boomerang-headed diplocauls kept their young close to shore for protection while on the far side of the little island juvenile black caimans and phytosaurs slumbered on, indifferent to their bipedal mammalian visitors.