A New Erythrosuchid Archosauriform from the Middle Triassic Yerrapalli Formation of South-Central India

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Research Article

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Erythrosuchid archosauriforms are quadrupedal carnivorous reptiles with a proportionally huge skull*They represent one of the first evolutionary radiations of medium to large predatory diapsids after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction*Erythrosuchids are known from Lower-Middle Triassic rocks of South Africa, Russia, and China, and there have been preliminary reports from the Middle Triassic Yerrapalli Formation of south-central India*Here we describe, compare and figure for the first time these Indian erythrosuchid remains*We erect the new genus and species Bharitalasuchus tapani based on a holotype and paratype that preserve tooth-bearing cranial fragments, at least 17 presacral vertebrae, some ribs and probable intercentra, and partial shoulder and pelvic girdles and hindlimb and allow recognizing a series of autapomorphies and unique combination of character states among erythrosuchids*Our phylogenetic analysis recovered Bharitalasuchus tapani most closely related to Shansisuchus shansisuchus and Chalishevia cothurnata from the late Anisian of China and Ladinian of Russia, respectively*The phylogenetic affinities of this new taxon and a revision of the tetrapod assemblage of the Yerrapalli Formation shed light on the age of this unit*The presence of the Wadiasaurus-Rechnisaurus-Bharitalasuchus association in the Yerrapalli Formation closely resembles the Sinokannemeyeria-Shansisuchus dicynodont-erythrosuchid association of late Anisian to early Ladinian Chinese units*This evidence supports a post-early-middle Anisian age, even possibly early Ladinian, for the Yerrapalli Formation*The presence of possibly one of the last erythrosuchids in India would indicate that the clade still retained both a northern and southern Pangean distribution before its extinction.

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