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The name was coined by Michael J. Benton in 1984. The first clade definitions were by Paul Sereno in 1991. He defined the concept as:
- The last common ancestor of Lagerpeton chanarensis, Marasuchus lilloensis, Pseudolagosuchus major and the Dinosauria (including Aves) and all its descendants.
Another term, with somewhat different coverage is Avemetatarsalia.