Evans, Susan E. Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
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A group of diapsid reptiles classified within the Archosauromorpha and recorded from Upper Permian to Lower Jurassic deposits around the world (Australia, Antarctica, India, China, Algeria, South Africa, Israel, Europe including Russia, and North America). Prolacertiforms (also known as protorosaurs) share a suite of distinctive characters, including elongate neck vertebrae with long low neural spines and long slender ribs, reduction of the lower temporal bar (a bone forming a portion of the lateral aspect of the skull and part of the base of the cranium), and emargination of the quadrate (part of the upper jaw joint) to support a tympanum (Fig. 1). Despite the similarities, however, there is now some doubt that prolacertiforms form a natural (monophyletic) group since some (such as the archetypal Prolacerta) seem to lie closer to archosaurs than others (such as Protorosaurus and Tanystropheus). See also: Archosauria; Diapsida; Reptilia
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