Archosauromorph extinction selectivity during the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction

Mark Puttick, Bethany Allen, Thomas L. Stubbs, Michael J. Benton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (SciVal)


Many traits have been linked to extinction risk among modern vertebrates, including mode of life and body size. However, previous work has indicated there is little evidence that body size, or any other trait, was selective during past mass extinctions. Here, we investigate the impact of the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction on early Archosauromorpha (basal dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs and their relatives) by focusing on body size and other life history traits. We built several new archosauromorph maximum‐likelihood supertrees, incorporating uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships. These supertrees were then employed as a framework to test whether extinction had a phylogenetic signal during the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction, and whether species with certain traits were more or less likely to go extinct. We find evidence for phylogenetic signal in extinction, in that taxa were more likely to become extinct if a close relative also did. However, there is no correlation between extinction and body size, or any other tested trait. These conclusions add to previous findings that body size, and other traits, were not subject to selection during mass extinctions in closely‐related clades, although the phylogenetic signal in extinction indicates that selection may have acted on traits not investigated here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Early online date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Archosauromorpha
  • body size
  • mass extinction
  • selectivity
  • supertrees
  • traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology


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