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Herpetoskylax

Herpetoskylax

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2023-07-18 Snargl 0 minute 0 second

Where does the Herpetoskylax live?

Herpetoskylax is an extinct genus of biarmosuchians, which were primitive therapsids that lived in the Late Permian period, about 259 to 254 million years ago.
Herpetoskylax was only known from South Africa, where it was found in the Beaufort Group of rocks that belong to the Karoo Basin.
The Beaufort Group preserves a rich fossil record of terrestrial vertebrates that lived in a semi-arid environment with seasonal rainfall.

Herpetoskylax had a long and deep snout, large eyes, and a small temporal opening behind the eye socket.
It had four teeth in the premaxilla, the front part of the upper jaw, and a large canine tooth in the maxilla, the main part of the upper jaw.
It had no teeth on the palate, the roof of the mouth.
It had a convex skull roof when viewed from the side, and a flat postfrontal bone above the eye.
It lacked a freestanding coronoid process, a projection of the lower jaw that helps in chewing.
It had a skull length of about 13 cm, and an estimated body length of about 100 cm.

The genus name Herpetoskylax means "reptile-puppy", from the Ancient Greek words for "creeping animal" and "young dog".
This name reflects the transitional features of therapsids, which were the ancestors of mammals.
Herpetoskylax had some reptilian traits, such as a sprawling posture and scales, but also some mammalian traits, such as a single temporal opening and a differentiated dentition.
Herpetoskylax was one of the earliest and most basal therapsids, and it may have been closely related to other biarmosuchians such as Biarmosuchus and Lycaenodon..
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What does the Herpetoskylax look like?

The Herpetoskylax is an extinct animal that belonged to the group of therapsids, which are the ancestors of mammals.

It lived in South Africa during the Late Permian Period, about 259 to 254 million years ago.

It had a long and narrow snout, large eyes, and sharp teeth.

Its skull was about 13 centimeters long, and its body was about 100 centimeters long.

It had no scales or fur, but a thin layer of skin.

It was probably a carnivore that hunted smaller animals.

It was named Herpetoskylax, which means 'reptile-puppy' in Greek, because it had features of both reptiles and mammals.

Some interesting facts are:
  • It was one of the primitive members of the biarmosuchian suborder, which had a small temporal opening in the skull and a convex skull roof.
  • It lacked any palatal teeth, which are teeth on the roof of the mouth, a feature that is common in many tetrapods.
  • It had a strong flexure at the level of the midbrain, which is a bend in the braincase, a feature that is more derived among non-mammal therapsids.
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