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Amniotes acquired new niches at a sooner fee than earlier than the collapse and at a much faster fee than primitive tetrapods. They acquired new feeding methods including herbivory and carnivory, beforehand solely having been insectivores and piscivores. From this level forward, reptiles dominated communities and had a greater range than primitive tetrapods, setting the stage for the Mesozoic . One of the most effective identified early stem-reptiles is Mesosaurus, a genus from the Early Permian that had returned to water, feeding on fish. The placement of turtles has traditionally been highly variable.
However, reptiles have been still necessary parts of the megafauna, particularly within the type of giant and big tortoises. It was historically assumed that the primary reptiles retained an anapsid cranium inherited from their ancestors.
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This kind of cranium has a skull roof with only holes for the nostrils, eyes and a pineal eye. These animals are traditionally referred to as “anapsids”, and type a paraphyletic primary stock from which other groups evolved. Very shortly after the primary amniotes appeared, a lineage known as Synapsida split off; this group was characterized by a temporal opening in the cranium behind every eye to give room for the jaw muscle to maneuver. These are the “mammal-like amniotes”, or stem-mammals, that later gave rise to the true mammals. Soon after, another group evolved an identical trait, this time with a double opening behind every eye, earning them the name Diapsida (“two arches”).
Classically, turtles had been considered to be associated to the primitive anapsid reptiles. Molecular work has usually positioned turtles within the diapsids.
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The perform of the holes in these groups was to lighten the skull and give room for the jaw muscular tissues to move, allowing for a extra powerful chunk. Primitive tetrapods were particularly devastated, whereas stem-reptiles fared higher, being ecologically adapted to the drier situations that followed.