Assembling the history of the Parareptilia: phylogeny, diversification, and a new definition of the clade



In the present study, the historical development of Parareptilia as a phylogenetically valid clade is summarized, and for the first time a modern phylogenetic definition of both Parareptilia as well as Eureptilia is presented, which will facilitate the study of problems of early amniote classification. Furthermore, a preliminary study of the rates of diversification in parareptiles is performed on the basis of topological information on species diversity. While acknowledging that the bias of the fossil record also needs to be considered for a more definitive statement on parareptile diversification, our results show that a significant increase in diversification rate could be recorded only among Triassic procolophonoids, making it difficult to interpret evolutionary novelties such as herbivory or impedance-matching hearing as being key innovations that might have driven diversification. (© 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)