Evolution des sauropodomorphes basaux et diversification des dinosaures sauropodes : apport des faunes du Lesotho et cladistique comparée

Abstract : The evolution of sauropodomorph dinosaurs and the radiation of the large sauropods are still far from being understood and well-dated. If the first sauropods seem to appear at the end of the Triassic, they don’t start to diversify before the Middle Jurassic. The uncertainty surrounding the definition of the clade Sauropoda is one of the main causes of the lack of consensus regarding the prosauropod – sauropod transition. It is this issue of the “stem-group” of sauropods that is dealt with in this thesis. Some prosauropods are now considered to be sauropods by some authors. These basal taxa differ a lot depending on the authors. The multiplication of the cladistic analyses didn’t solve the problem as they never were compared.The discovery in 2008, by a MNHN team, in the Early Jurassic of Lesotho, of a prosauropod articulated skeleton is used herein as the basis for anatomical and systematic study of basal sauropodomorphs. Many other new dinosaur remains from Lesotho, housed in the MNHN collections, complement the study material. Among these, material referred to the Maphutseng prosauropod and fossils referred to the genus Meroktenos are described in details for the first time.A critical and detailed comparison of previous phylogenetic analyses is performed, using the comparative cladistics method as formalized by Sereno in 2009. This work allowed to highlight the significant impact of the choice of characters and their scoring on the topology of the trees. After that, a first reappraisal of a list of 449 compiled characters was carried out. It required the reexamination of a matrix consisting in 15 000 to 20 000 cells, and more than 1300 measures. This work led to remove more than one hundred morphological characters, and the building of a new matrix including 49 taxonomic units and 308 characters. The results of the phylogenetic analysis, although preliminary, raise some interesting points. Several clades, often recovered in the most recent analyses published by other authors, are not recognized here. However, clades that had, until then, never been found, are recovered. The different analyses also point out the hurdle of the origin of Sauropodomorpha, and reopen the debate on the origin of Sauropoda.
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Claire Peyre de Fabrègues. Evolution des sauropodomorphes basaux et diversification des dinosaures sauropodes : apport des faunes du Lesotho et cladistique comparée. Paléontologie. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016MNHN0013⟩. ⟨tel-01894002⟩

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