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Temporal range: Capitanian, 265  Ma
Titanosuchus ferox.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Clade: Therapsida
Suborder: Dinocephalia
Family: Titanosuchidae
Genus: Titanosuchus
Owen, 1876
T. ferox
Binomial name
Titanosuchus ferox
Owen, 1876
  • ParascapanodonBoonstra, 1955
  • ScapanodonBroom, 1904

Titanosuchus ferox ("Fierce titan crocodile") is an extinct species of dinocephalian therapsids that lived in the Middle Permian epoch in South Africa.

Along with its close relatives, Jonkeria and Moschops , Titanosuchus inhabited present-day South Africa around 265 million years ago, in the Late Permian. Titanosuchus was a carnivore which measured over 2.5 m long and might have eaten both Jonkeria and Moschops, among other vertebrates. [1] Its teeth included sharp incisors and fang-like canines, perfect for biting prey. [2]

Titanosuchus should not be confused with the therapsid Eotitanosuchus , which belonged to a different family.

Parascapanodon and Scapanodon were once thought to be distinct genera, but are now considered to be junior synonyms of Titanosuchus. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Synapsid Clade of tetrapods

Synapsids are one of the two major groups of animals that evolved from basal amniotes, the other being the sauropsids, the group that includes reptiles, dinosaurs, and birds. The group includes mammals and every animal more closely related to mammals than to sauropsids. Unlike other amniotes, synapsids have a temporal fenestra, an opening low in the skull roof behind each eye, leaving a bony arch beneath each; this accounts for their name. The distinctive temporal fenestra developed about 318 million years ago during the Late Carboniferous period, when synapsids and sauropsids diverged.

Therapsid Clade of synapsids

Therapsida is a major group of eupelycosaurian synapsids that includes mammals and their ancestors. Many of the traits today seen as unique to mammals had their origin within early therapsids, including limbs that were oriented more underneath the body, as opposed to the sprawling posture of many reptiles and salamanders.

Dicynodont Extinct clade of therapsids

The dicynodonts (Dicynodontia) are an extinct subgroup (clade) of anomodonts, an extinct type of non-mammalian therapsid. Dicynodonts were herbivorous animals with a pair of tusks, hence their name, which means 'two dog tooth'. Members of the group possessed a horny, typically toothless beak, uniquely amongst all proto-mammals (synapsids). Dicynodonts first appeared during the mid-Permian, ca. 270–260 million years ago, and became dominant in the Late Permian, ca. 260–255 Mya. They were devastated by the end-Permian Extinction that wiped out most other therapsids ca. 252 Mya. They rebounded during the Triassic but died out towards the end of that period. They were the most successful and diverse of the non-mammalian therapsids, with over 70 genera known, varying from rat to elephant-sized.

<i>Cistecephalus</i> Extinct genus of dicynodonts

Cistecephalus is an extinct genus of dicynodont therapsid from the Late Permian of southern Africa. It was a small, specialised, burrowing dicynodont, possibly with habits similar to a modern mole. The head was flattened and wedge-shaped, the body long, and the forelimbs very strong, with similarities in structure to the forelimb of modern burrowing mammals.

Biarmosuchia Extinct suborder of therapsids

Biarmosuchia is an extinct clade of non-mammalian synapsids from the Permian. Biarmosuchians are the most basal group of the therapsids. They were moderately-sized, lightly-built carnivores, intermediate in form between basal sphenacodont "pelycosaurs" and more advanced therapsids. Biarmosuchians were rare components of Permian ecosystems, and the majority of species belong to the clade Burnetiamorpha, which are characterized by elaborate cranial ornamentation.

<i>Ulemosaurus</i> Extinct genus of therapsids

Ulemosaurus is an extinct genus of dinocephalian therapsids that lived 265 to 260 million years ago, at Isheevo in Russian Tatarstan. It was a tapinocephalid, a group of bulky herbivores which flourished in the Middle Permian. Ulemosaurus and other tapinocephalians disappeared at the end of the Middle Permian.

Titanosuchidae Extinct family of therapsids

Titanosuchidae is an extinct family of dinocephalians.

<i>Lycaenops</i> Extinct genus of therapsids

Lycaenops ("wolf-face") is a genus of carnivorous therapsids. It lived during the late mid-Permian to the early Late Permian, about 260 mya, in what is now South Africa.

<i>Dicynodon</i> Extinct genus of dicynodonts

Dicynodon is a genus of dicynodont therapsid that flourished during the Upper Permian period. Like all dicynodonts, it was herbivorous. This animal was toothless, except for prominent tusks, hence the name. It probably cropped vegetation with a horny beak, much like a tortoise, while the tusks may have been used for digging up roots and tubers.

<i>Hovasaurus</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Hovasaurus is an extinct genus of diapsid reptile belonging to the order Eosuchia. It lived in what is now Madagascar during the Late Permian and Early Triassic, being a survivor of the Permian–Triassic extinction event and the paleontologically youngest member of the Tangasauridae. Fossils have been found in the Permian Lower and Triassic Middle Sakamena Formations of the Sakamena Group, where it is amongst the commonest fossils. Its morphology suggests an aquatic ecology.

<i>Tapinocephalus</i> Assemblage Zone

The Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone is a tetrapod assemblage zone or biozone which correlates to the middle Abrahamskraal Formation, Adelaide Subgroup of the Beaufort Group, a fossiliferous and geologically important geological Group of the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa. The thickest outcrops, reaching approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), occur from Merweville and Leeu-Gamka in its southernmost exposures, from Sutherland through to Beaufort West where outcrops start to only be found in the south-east, north of Oudshoorn and Willowmore, reaching up to areas south of Graaff-Reinet. Its northernmost exposures occur around the towns Fraserburg and Victoria West. The Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone is the second biozone of the Beaufort Group.

<i>Tropidostoma</i> Assemblage Zone

The Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone is a tetrapod assemblage zone or biozone which correlates to the lower Teekloof Formation, Adelaide Subgroup of the Beaufort Group, a fossiliferous and geologically important geological Group of the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa. The thickest outcrops, reaching approximately 240 metres (790 ft), occur from east of Sutherland through to Beaufort West and Victoria West, to areas south of Graaff-Reinet. Its northernmost exposures occur west/north-west of Colesberg. The Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone is the fourth biozone of the Beaufort Group.

<i>Eodicynodon</i> Extinct genus of dicynodonts

Eodicynodon is an extinct genus of dicynodont therapsids, a highly diverse group of herbivorous synapsids that were widespread during the middle-late Permian and early Triassic. As its name suggests, Eodicynodon is the oldest and most primitive dicynodont yet identified, ranging from the middle to late Permian and possessing a mix of ancestral Anomodont/therapsid features and derived dicynodont synapomorphies.

<i>Lemurosaurus</i> Extinct genus of therapsids

Lemurosaurus is a genus of extinct biarmosuchian therapsids from the Late Permian of South Africa. The generic epithet Lemursaurus is a mix of Latin, lemures “ghosts, spirits”, and Greek, sauros, “lizard”. Lemurosaurus is easily identifiable by its prominent eye crests, and large eyes. The name Lemurosaurus pricei was coined by paleontologist Robert Broom in 1949, based on a single small crushed skull, measured at approximately 86 millimeters in length, found on the Dorsfontein farm in Graff-Reinet. To date, only two skulls of the Lemurosaurus have been discovered, so body size is unknown. The second larger, more intact, skull was found in 1974 by a team from the National Museum in Bloemfontein.

<i>Paraburnetia</i> Extinct genus of therapsids

Paraburnetia is an extinct genus of biarmosuchian therapsids from the Late Permian of South Africa. It is known for its species P. sneeubergensis and belongs to the family Burnetiidae. Paraburnetia lived just before the Permian–Triassic mass extinction event.

<i>Ictidosuchoides</i> Extinct genus of therapsids from the late Permian and early Triassic of South Africa

Ictidosuchoides is an extinct genus of ictidosuchid therocephalians. Fossils have been found from the Karoo Basin in South Africa. The genus is known to have been one of the few therocephalians to have survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event in this area, although its numbers were quite low after the extinction.

<i>Pelanomodon</i> Extinct genus of dicynodonts

Pelanomodon is an extinct genus of dicynodont therapsids that lived in the Late Permian period. Fossil evidence of this genus is principally found in the Karoo Basin of South Africa, in the Dicynodon Assemblage Zone. Lack of fossil record after the Late Permian epoch suggests that Pelanomodon fell victim to the Permian-Triassic extinction event.

Pylaecephalidae Extinct family of dicynodonts

Pylaecephalidae is a family of dicynodont therapsids that includes Diictodon, Robertia, and Prosictodon from the Permian of South Africa. Pylaecephalids were small burrowing dicynodonts with long tusks. The family was first named in 1934 and was redefined in 2009. Diictodontidae and Robertiidae are considered junior synonyms of Pylaecephalidae.

Teekloof Formation Late Permian geological formation that forms part of the Beaufort Group of South Africa

The Teekloof Formation is a geological formation that forms part of the Beaufort Group, one of the five geological groups that comprises the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa. The Teekloof Formation is the uppermost formation of Adelaide Subgroup deposits West of 24ºE and contains Middle to Late Permian-aged deposits and four biozones of the Beaufort Group. It overlies the Abrahamskraal Formation. The Teekloof Formation does not underlie other units other than the younger Karoo dolerites and sills that relate to the emplacement of the Early Jurassic Drakensberg Group to the east. Outcrops and exposures of the Teekloof Formation range from Sutherland through the mountain escarpments between Fraserburg and Beaufort West. The northernmost localities of the Teekloof Formation are found by Loxton, Victoria West and Richmond.


  1. "Palaeos Vertebrates: Therapsida: Tapinocephalia".
  2. Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 189. ISBN   1-84028-152-9.
  3. Boonstra, L. D., 1969, The fauna of the Tapinocephalus zone (Beaufort beds of the Karoo): Annals of the South African Museum, v. 56, part 1, p. 1-73.