Temporal range: Pennsylvanian - Cisuralian, 303–265 Ma
Edaphosaurus boanerges, AMNH
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Synapsida
Family: Edaphosauridae
Genus: Edaphosaurus
Cope, 1882
  • E. boanerges
    (Romer and Price, 1940)
  • E. colohistion (Berman, 1979)
  • E. cruciger (Cope, 1878)
  • E. novomexicanus
    (Williston and Case, 1913)
  • E. pogonias (Cope, 1882 (type))
  •  ?E. raymondi (Case, 1908)
  • Brachycnemius (Williston, 1911)
  • Naosaurus (Cope, 1886)

Edaphosaurus (pronounced /ˌɛdəfɵˈsɔrəs/) is a genus of prehistoric synapsid which lived around 303 to 265 million years ago, during the late Carboniferous to early Permian periods. The name Edaphosaurus means "ground lizard" and is derived from the Greek edaphos/εδαφος ("ground, land") and σαυρος/sauros ("lizard"). This genus was first known from remains discovered in North America, in the late 19th century, and described by American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. More recently other fossils attributed to Edaphosaurus have been found in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The most characteristic feature of Edaphosaurus is a sail on its back similar to that of other synapsids of the same time, such as the large apex predator Dimetrodon. However, the sail on Edaphosaurus is different in shape and morphology. Along with the reptile-like family Diadectidae, Edaphosaurus is one of the earliest known large plant-eating tetrapods (land-living vertebrates). Early descriptions, referring to its sharp teeth, suggest that the synapsid may have fed on small invertebrates, such as mollusks, although paleontologists now point out that Edaphosaurus also shows herbivore characteristics.



Edaphosaurus pogonias (large, background) and Platyhystrix rugosus
Skeleton mount at the Field Museum
Skull of Edaphosaurus in lateral and dorsal views.

The head of Edaphosaurus was short and shallow, and remarkably small compared to its body size. The deep lower jaw had powerful muscles and the frontal teeth were barbed at the cutting edges, helping Edaphosaurus to cut bite-sized pieces from tough terrestrial plants. The palate and inside the lower jaw are covered with small teeth forming a large biting surface.

The sail along the back of Edaphosaurus was supported by hugely elongated neural spines from neck to lumbar region. As compared with the sail of Dimetrodon, the vertebral spines are shorter and heavier and bear numerous small cross bars. Edaphosaurus species measured from 1 m (3 ft) to almost 3.5 m (11 ft) in length and weighed over 300 kilograms (660 lb). This large herbivore had a massive wide body, thick tail and short limbs which show that was a slow moving animal.

In popular culture

See also


  • Carroll, R. L. (1988), Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, WH Freeman & Co.
  • Colbert, E. H., (1969), Evolution of the Vertebrates, John Wiley & Sons Inc (2nd ed.)
  • Romer, A. S., (1947, revised ed. 1966) Vertebrate Paleontology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago
  • Romer, A. S. and Price, L. I., (1940), Review of the Pelycosauria, Geological Society of American Special Papers, No 28

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edaphosaurus — Lebensbild von Edaphosaurus pogonias Zeitraum Oberes Karbon bis Unteres Perm 305 bis 272,5 Mio. Jahre Fundorte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • edaphosaurus — n. an extinct heavy bodied reptile of the late Paleozoic having a dorsal sail or crest. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Edaphosaurus —   [zu griechisch édaphos »(Erd )Boden« und saũros »Eidechse«] der, /...ri|er, Gattung bis 3 m langer, kurzschnauziger, eidechsenartiger urtümlicher Saurier (Ordnung Pelycosauria), lebten vom Oberkarbon bis zum Unterperm Europas und Nordamerikas;… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Edaphosaurus —   Edaphosaurus Rango temporal: Carbonífero superior Pérmico inferior …   Wikipedia Español

  • Edaphosaurus — Édaphosaure Edaphosaurus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edaphosaurus — ▪ dinosaur genus       primitive herbivorous relative of mammals that is found in fossil deposits dating from Late Carboniferous (Carboniferous Period) to the Early Permian (Permian Period) periods (318 million to 271 million years ago).… …   Universalium

  • edaphosaurus — noun heavy bodied reptile with a dorsal sail or crest; of the late Paleozoic • Hypernyms: ↑synapsid, ↑synapsid reptile • Member Holonyms: ↑genus Edaphosaurus * * * ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ˈsȯrəs noun Usage: capitalized …   Useful english dictionary

  • edaphosaurus — noun Any of several dinosaurs of the family Edaphosauridae, from the Carboniferous and Permian periods, that had a distinctive dorsal sail or crest …   Wiktionary

  • edaphosaurus — ed·a·pho·sau·rus …   English syllables

  • genus Edaphosaurus — noun type genus of the Edaphosauridae • Hypernyms: ↑reptile genus • Member Holonyms: ↑Edaphosauridae, ↑family Edaphosauridae • Member Meronyms: ↑edaphosaurus …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”