The ferocious predator lived in South America 265 million years in the past

Life reconstruction of Pampaphoneus biccai. Image credit: Márcio Castro.

Pampafonus pikai – a big, carnivorous, two-headed therapsid that lived in what’s now Brazil through the Permian – and till now was identified solely from its in depth specimen. Now, paleontologists from Brazil and america have described intimately an virtually full cranium Pampafonus pikai Related to some post-cranial stays.

Reconstructing the life of Pampaphoneus biccai.  Photo credit: Marcio Castro.

Rebuilding life Pampafonus pikai. Picture credit score: Marcio Castro.

Pampafonus pikai Belongs to a clade Polycephalya gaggle of Permian therapsids with giant our bodies.

The traditional predator lived simply earlier than the end-Permian mass extinction, the most important extinction occasion in Earth’s historical past that worn out 86% of all animal species worldwide.

Earlier than this extinction occasion, decapitated animals had been one of many main teams of enormous terrestrial animals that flourished on Earth.

They had been medium to giant sized creatures with each carnivores and herbivores.

Deinocephalians had thick cranial bones, resulting in the group’s identify which interprets to “horrible head” in Greek.

Whereas these animals are identified in South Africa and Jap Europe, they’re uncommon in different elements of the world.

Pampafonus pikaithe one identified species of diplocephalus from Brazil, was a talented predator able to feeding on small and medium-sized animals.

the most important Pampafonus pikai People can attain practically 3 meters (10 toes) in size and weigh about 400 kg.

Pampafonus pikai “It was a strange-looking monster that should have struck excessive terror at something that crossed its path,” mentioned Professor Felipe Pinheiro of the Federal College of Pampa.

“Its discovery is vital to offering a glimpse into the societal construction of terrestrial ecosystems earlier than the most important mass extinction ever.”

“A shocking discovery that demonstrates the worldwide significance of Brazil’s fossil report.”

New fossil materials Pampafonus pikai – together with a whole cranium and a few skeletal bones, akin to ribs and arm bones – present in rural São Gabriel, southern Brazil.

Matthews A. mentioned: Costa Santos, a graduate pupil on the Federal College of Pampa: “The fossil was present in Center Permian rocks, in an space the place bones will not be quite common, however they at all times maintain nice surprises.”

“Looking for one thing new Pampafonus pikai The cranium has lengthy been extraordinarily vital for growing our information of the animal, which had beforehand been tough to tell apart from its Jap European family members.

The brand new specimen is simply the second cranium of Pampafonus pikai It has by no means been found in South America.

It’s also bigger than the primary and supplies unprecedented details about its form due to the distinctive preservation of its bones.

Pampafonus pikai “It performed the identical ecological function as fashionable large cats,” Professor Pinheiro mentioned.

“It was the most important terrestrial predator we all know of from the Permian of South America.”

“The animal had giant, sharp fangs tailored for greedy prey.”

“Its tooth and cranium construction recommend that its chew was highly effective sufficient to chew bone, very like modern-day hyenas.”

the the findings Posted in Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.


Matthews A. Costa Santos et al. Osteology of the cranium of the Brazilian dicephalon Pampafonus pikai (Anteosauridae: Syodontinae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, printed on-line September 10, 2023; doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad071



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