Fossil range: Sinemurian - Recent
| Scientific classification
It was long known that Mesosuchia was an evolutionary grade,, a hypothesis confirmed by the phylogenetic analysis of Benton and Clark, 1988 which demonstrated that Eusuchia (which includes all living crocodylian species) was nested within Mesosuchia. As the authors did not accept paraphyletic groups, Mesoeucrocodylia was erected to replace Mesosuchia.
Several anatomical characteristics differentiate Mesoeucrocodylia from the other crocodylomorph clades. The frontal bones of the skull are fused together into a single compound element, for example. Mesoeucrocodylians possess somewhat of a secondary palate, formed by the posterior extension of sutured palatine bones. The otic aperture of the members of this clade is blocked posteriorly by the squamosal bone.
Cladogram after Larsson and Sues (2007)
Mesoeucrocodylia |--Thalattosuchia `--Metasuchia |--Notosuchia `--+--Sebecia `--Neosuchia |--+--Pholidosauridae | `--Eutretauranosuchus |--Hylaeochampsa |--Mahajangasuchus `--Crocodylia (modern crocodilians)
- ^ a b Whetstone KN, Whybrow PJ. 1983. A “cursorial” crocodilian from the Triassic of Lesotho (Basutoland), southern Africa. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History. The University of Kansas 106: 1–37.
- ^ Clark, J. M. (1994). Patterns of evolution in Mesozoic Crocodyliformes In N.C. Fraser and H. D. Sues (editors), In the shadow of dinosaurs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 84-97.
- ^ Larsson HCE, Sues H-D. 2007. Cranial osteology and phylogenetic relationships of Hamadasuchus rebouli (Crocodyliformes: Mesoeucrocodylia) from the Cretaceous of Morocco. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 149: 533-567.