Taxonomy

The name Batrachotomus kupferzellensis can be translated as the ‘Kupferzell frog-slicer’ - this relates to its high, narrow skull with large serrated teeth. Early reconstructions of the Kupferzell Triassic ecosystem showed Batrachotomus kupferzellensis feeding on large amphibians.

Batrachotomus kupferzellensis is by far the best-known rauisuchian documented to date. Other members of this poorly-known group are represented by only a few scrappy fossil fragments, making comprehensive comparisons tricky.

Despite this, Batrachotomus kupferzellensis is distinguished from all other ‘rauisuchian’ taxa by a unique combination of detailed skeletal features.

The archoaurian group Pseudosuchia radiated early in the Triassic into many groups, several of which have been confused taxonomically. The Rauisuchia is perhaps the most confusing of these groups and probably comprises 2 or 3 separate groups.

Previous taxonomic confusion stemmed from inadequate examination of incomplete fossils stored in museums across the world, and because several groups are superficially similar to each other and to some early dinosaurs.

Documentation of well-preserved Triassic archosaurs such as Batrachotomus kupferzellensis is helping to clarify archosaur classification.

Batrachotomus kupferzellensis is one of the ‘rauisuchian’ groups most closely related to crocodilians.

Glossary
Archosaurs

Greek: 'ruling lizards'. A group that first appeared in the Triassic whose living representatives include modern birds and crocodiles. This group also includes pterosaurs and dinosaurs, as well as several other extinct groups.

Rauisuchia

A poorly-known assemblage of large predatory Triassic archosaurs.

Triassic

A geologic period that extended from about 250 to 200 million years ago.

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