Research Topic

Biology and Evolutionary History of Mesosaurs, the Oldest Known Aquatic Reptiles

  • Submission closed.

About this Research Topic

Mesosaurs are among the most amazing extinct animals; they are the oldest known reptiles that developed aquatic adaptations, although how terrestrial their ancestors had become remains to be established; they are the only known vertebrates from Gondwana at the Early Permian and they are represented by ...

Mesosaurs are among the most amazing extinct animals; they are the oldest known reptiles that developed aquatic adaptations, although how terrestrial their ancestors had become remains to be established; they are the only known vertebrates from Gondwana at the Early Permian and they are represented by thousands of well preserved and almost complete skeletons. Mesosaurs were capable of inhabiting cold and salty water bodies resulting from the drought of an originally large inland sea that extended over what is now South America and Africa.

So far, mesosaurs are the only tetrapods known from a depauperate ecosystem that included pygocephalomorph crustaceans, algal and microbial mats, and the still unidentified producers of the trace fossil Chondrites. Recently, the discovery of well-preserved mesosaur embryos curled as if within an egg, and one pregnant female yielded clues about early amniote reproductive biology. The fact that mesosaurs may have developed extended embryo retention along with the apparent absence of a mineralized egg-shell may explain the large gap in the fossil record of early amniotic eggs for the first 90 million years of their evolution.

More basic remaining gaps in our knowledge of mesosaurs include taxonomic questions. For instance, how many nominal mesosaur taxa are valid? What are the affinities of mesosaurs?

These interesting aspects of mesosaur biology, along with a reappraisal of their diet and aquatic adaptations, as well as the analysis of the taxonomic problems that are still unresolved justify a Research Topic on mesosaurs in Frontiers in Earth Science. The aim of this proposal is to contrast earlier hypotheses about this taxon and contrast it to recent or new hypotheses that stem from the new data produced in the last few years.

We seek contributions from recognized specialists of early amniote evolution, comparative anatomy and reproductive strategies of extant reptiles, and mesosaurs. We believe that this collection of papers will be useful for a wide range of researches, from those working on paleoecology of basal tetrapods to those focusing on various aspects of vertebrate evolution or paleobiology.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Recent Articles

Loading..

About Frontiers Research Topics

With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..
Loading..

total views article views article downloads topic views

}
 
Top countries
Top referring sites
Loading..

Comments

Loading..

Add a comment

Add comment
Back to top