ARCHOSAUR RISE was a research project funded from 2014–2018 by the European Commission through a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant to Professor Richard Butler.

A central goal of palaeontology is to understand the drivers and dynamics of the major evolutionary radiations that have shaped the history of life on Earth and governed the origins of the modern biota. On land, one of the most important evolutionary diversifications was the radiation of archosaurs, which began around 250 million years ago in the Triassic Period, following the greatest mass extinction in the history of life at the end of the preceding Permian Period. Following their origins in the Triassic, archosaurs subsequently dominated terrestrial ecosystems for around 170 million years of the Mesozoic, and reached gigantic body sizes unparalleled in the history of vertebrate life on land.

ARCHOSAUR RISE focused on the early archosaur radiation during the early Mesozoic (Triassic and Jurassic), between 250 and 150 million years ago, and aimed to constrain the diversity and biogeography of species involved in this radiation, and elucidate the radiation’s tempo and evolutionary patterns and mechanisms. The goal of the project was to provide new insights into how and why archosaurs became arguably the most successful group of vertebrates on land, the origin and rise to ecological dominance of dinosaurs, and more broadly into the nature of major evolutionary radiations, the recovery from mass extinction events, and the long-term interactions between biotic diversity and Earth system evolution.

Teleocrater final Witton 2017 lower res



BUTLER, R. J., Sullivan, C., EZCURRA, M. D., Liu, J., Lecuona, A. & SOOKIAS, R. B. 2014. New clade of enigmatic early archosaurs yields insights into early pseudosuchian phylogeny and the biogeography of the archosaur radiation. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14:128.

BUTLER, R. J., EZCURRA, M. D., Montefeltro, F. C., Samathi, A. & Sobral, G. 2015. A new species of basal rhynchosaur (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the early Middle Triassic of South Africa, and the early evolution of Rhynchosauria. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 174:571-588.

BUTLER, R. J., Nesbitt, S. J., Charig, A. L., Gower, D. J., Barrett, P. M. 2018. Mandasuchus tanyauchen gen. et sp. nov., a pseudosuchian archosaur from the Manda beds of Tanzania. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

BUTTON, D. J., Lloyd, G. T., EZCURRA, M. D.BUTLER, R. J. 2017. Mass extinctions drove global faunal cosmopolitanism on the supercontinent Pangaea. Nature Communications 8: 733.

EZCURRA, M. D.BUTLER, R. J. 2015. Taxonomy of the proterosuchid archosauriforms (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the earliest Triassic of South Africa, and implications for the early archosauriform radiation. Palaeontology 58:141–170.

EZCURRA, M. D.BUTLER, R. J. 2015. Post-hatchling cranial ontogeny in the Early Triassic diapsid reptile Proterosuchus fergusiJournal of Anatomy 226:387–402.

EZCURRA, M.D., Martinelli, A.G., Fiorelli, L.E., Da-Rosa, A.A.S. & Desojo, J.B. 2015. Archosauromorph remains from the Tarjados Formation (Early-Middle Triassic, NW Argentina). Ameghiniana 52:475–486.

EZCURRA, M. D., Velozo, P., Meneghel, M. & Piñeiro, G. 2015. Early archosauromorph remains from the Permo-Triassic Buena Vista Formation of north-eastern Uruguay. PeerJ 3:e776.

EZCURRA, M.D., Desojo, J.B. & Rauhut, O.W.M. 2015. Redescription and phylogenetic relationships of the proterochampsid Rhadinosuchus gracilis (Diapsida: Archosauriformes) from the early Late Triassic of southern Brazil. Ameghiniana 52:391–417.

EZCURRA, M.D. 2016. The phylogenetic relationships of basal archosauromorphs, with an emphasis on the systematics of proterosuchian archosauriforms. PeerJ 4:e1778.

EZCURRA, M. D., Montefeltro, F. C., BUTLER, R. J. 2016. The early evolution of rhynchosaurs. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3:142.

EZCURRA, M.D. 2017. Can social and sexual selection explain the bizarre snout of proterosuchid archosauriforms? Historical Biology 29:348–358.

EZCURRA, M. D., Fortuny, J., Mujal, E., Bolet, A. 2017. First direct archosauromorph remains from the Early-Middle Triassic transition of the Iberian Peninsula. Palaeontologia Electronica 20.3.62A.

EZCURRA, M. D. & BUTLER, R. J. In review. The rise of the ruling reptiles and ecosystem recovery from the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Foth, C., EZCURRA, M. D, SOOKIAS, R. B., Brusatte, S. L., BUTLER, R. J. 2016. Unappreciated diversification of stem archosaurs during the Middle Triassic predated the dominance of dinosaurs. BMC Evolutionary Biology 16:188.

Gower, D. J., Hancox, P. J., Botha-Brink, J., Sennikov, A. G. & BUTLER, R. J. 2014. A new species of Garjainia Ochev, 1958 (Diapsida: Archosauriformes: Erythrosuchidae) from the Early Triassic of South Africa. PLoS ONE 9(11):e111154.

Jones, A. S., BUTLER, R. J. In review. A new phylogenetic analysis of Phytosauria (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) with the application of continuous and geometric morphometric character coding. PeerJ.

Kammerer, C. F., BUTLER, R. J., Bandyopadhyay, S. & Stocker, M. R. 2016. Relationships of the Indian phytosaur Parasuchus hislopi Lydekker, 1885. Papers in Palaeontology 2:1–23.

Lautenschlager, S. BUTLER, R. J. 2016. Neural and endocranial anatomy of Triassic phytosaurian reptiles and convergence with fossil and modern crocodylians. PeerJ 4:e2251.

Liu, J., BUTLER, R. J., Sullivan, C. & EZCURRA, M. D. 2015. ‘Chasmatosaurus ultimus’, a putative proterosuchid archosauriform from the Middle Triassic, is an indeterminate crown archosaur. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35:e965779.

Mannion, P. D., Benson, R. B. J., Carrano, M. T., Tennant, J. P., Judd, J., BUTLER, R. J. 2015. Climate constrains the evolutionary history and biodiversity of crocodylians. Nature Communications 6:8438.

Marsola, J. C. A., Bittencourt, J. S., BUTLER, R. J., Da Rosa, A. A. S., Sayão, J. M., Langer, M. C. In review. A new small-bodied dinosaur with theropod affinities from the Late Triassic Santa Maria Formation, South Brazil. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

McPhee, B. W., Upchurch, P., Mannion, P. D., Sullivan, C., BUTLER, R. J., Barrett, P. M. 2016. A revision of Sanpasaurus yaoi Young, 1944 from the Early Jurassic of China, and its relevance to the early evolution of Sauropoda (Dinosauria). PeerJ 4:e2578.

Nesbitt, S. J., BUTLER, R. J., EZCURRA, M. D., Barrett, P. M., Stocker, M. R., Angielczyk, K. D., Smith, R. M. H., Sidor, C. A., Niedźwiedzki, G., Sennikov, A., Charig, A. J. 2017. The earliest bird-line archosaurs and the assembly of the dinosaur body plan. Nature 544:484–487.

Nesbitt, S. J., BUTLER, R. J., EZCURRA, M. D., Charig, A. J., Barrett, P. M. The anatomy of Teleocrater rhadinus, an early avemetatarsalian from the lower portion of the Lifua Member of the Manda Beds (~Middle Triassic). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Panciroli, E., Benson, R. B. J., BUTLER, R. J. 2018. New partial dentaries of amphitheriid mammalian Palaeoxonodon from Scotland, and posterior dentary morphology in early cladotherians. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Pinheiro, F. L., França, M. A. G., Lacerda, M. B., BUTLER, R. J., Schultz, C. L. 2016. An exceptional fossil skull from South America and the origins of the archosauriform radiation. Scientific Reports 6:22817.

Sengupta, S., EZCURRA, M. D., Bandyopadhyay, S. 2017. A new horned and long-necked herbivorous stem-archosaur from the Middle Triassic of India. Scientific Reports 7:8366.

Sobral, G., SOOKIAS, R. B., Bhullar, B.-A. S., Smith, R. M. H., BUTLER, R. J., Müller, J. 2016. New information on the braincase and inner ear of Euparkeria capensis Broom: implications for diapsid and archosaur evolution. Royal Society Open Science 3: 160072.

SOOKIAS, R. B. 2016. The relationships of the Euparkeriidae and the rise of Archosauria. Royal Society Open Science 3:150674.

SOOKIAS, R. B., Sullivan, C., Liu, J. & BUTLER, R. J. 2014. Systematics of putative euparkeriids (Diapsida: Archosauriformes) from the Triassic of China. PeerJ 2:e658.