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Rileyasuchus (meaning "Riley’s crocodile") is a genus of phytosaur from the Rhaetian (Late Triassic) of England. It has a confusing history, being associated with the taxonomy of Palaeosaurus and Thecodontosaurus, and being a replacement name for a preoccupied genus (Rileya, which had already been used by Howard (or Ashmead; it's unclear which one has priority, but they apparently are the same animal) in 1888 for a hymenopteran).

Rileyasuchus

Temporal range: Late Triassic

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Infraclass: Archosauromorpha
(unranked): Crurotarsi
Order: Phytosauria
Genus: Rileyasuchus


Kuhn, 1961

Species
  • R. bristolensis (von Huene, 1902 [originally Rileyia]) (type)

History and taxonomy

Friedrich von Huene named the new genus for two vertebrae and a humerus from deposits in Bristol.[3] He had recognized it as a phytosaur by 1908 (by which point a few Palaeosaurus species had been added to the genus).

It seems to have sat unrecognized for most of the 20th century, except for 1961 when Oskar Kuhn renamed it from Rileya to Rileyasuchus. Adrian Hunt in 1994 (doctoral dissertation) first suggested that it was a herrerasaurid, although this was never published. Benton et al. (2000) indicated that the type specimen was actually a chimera composed of a phytosaur humerus and Thecodontosaurus vertebrae. It is best regarded as a nomen dubium.

Paleobiology

As a phytosaur, it would have been a semi-aquatic crocodile-like predator.

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