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The Higher Level Relationships of the Extant Crocodylia

Mark Allen Norell
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 23, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 325-335
DOI: 10.2307/1564042
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564042
Page Count: 11
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The Higher Level Relationships of the Extant Crocodylia
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Abstract

The relationships of the three living groups of crocodilians (crocodylids, alligatorids and gavialids) are poorly understood. Recent molecular results favor a sister group relationship between the crocodylid genus Tomistoma and Gavialis, with this as the sister group to the crocodylids (Densmore, 1983). Buffetaut (1985) has reinterpreted some morphologic evidence as supportive of this viewpoint. This morphologic evidence is examined here using outgroup analysis; it fails to support this hypothesis. Few if any morphological features unambiguously support a Gavialis + crocodylid or Gavialis + Tomistoma relationship. Instead the classic pre-Darwinian phylogeny of Duméril (1806) is corroborated by anatomical evidence. This phylogeny supports a monophyletic crocodylid + alligatorid clade as a monophyletic sister group to Gavialis.

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