Produced by the Population Genetics and Evolution class, Furman University
were large, four-legged herbivorous therapsids (Tamura 2009). They grew
to lengths of up to sixteen feet and possessed chisel like teeth for clipping
plants. They walked on four legs; their front legs were sprawled out from
their body like reptiles, but their hind legs were positioned underneath
their body like mammals (Enchanted Learning 2009). One of their most interesting
characteristics was their cranium. It was compromised of a very thick
frontoparietal shield, with a thick bony ridge behind the eye - giving
the organism an oddly shaped head. These thick skulls may have been used
for intraspecific head-butting combat for mates. The presence of a greatly
expanded occiput supports this hypothesis; it would have greatly aided
in cranial shock absorption following a collision (Barghusen 1975).
Page by Iggy Gaska
|Skeletal rendition of Moschops. Photo from: Wikimedia.com|
Barghusen HR.1975. A Review of Fighting Adaptations in Dinocephalians (Reptilia, Therapsida). Paleobiology. 3:295-311.
Enchanted Learning.2009.Moschops. Accessed March 15, 2009.
Tamura N. 2009.Paleocritti. Moschops capensis. Accessed March 17, 2009.