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Therapsida

ESTEMMENOSUCHUS
mirabilis


 
Meaning Of Name: Crowned crocodile
Classification: THERAPSIDA; Dinocephalia; Family Estemmenosuchidae
Age: Later Permian Zone I, 225 million years ago
Locality: Ocher, Perm Region, Russia
Cast Size: 45cm in width

Represent is the skull of a large herbivore in the group Dinocephalia. The skeleton was preserved in a channel flood deposit With large horns projecting both upwards and outwards and a sprawling posture as well as reduced teeth behind the large canines these massive clumsy-looking animals would seem almost certain to have been herbivores. However at least one expert on mammal-like reptiles asserts that Estemmenosuchus was a carnivore exerting a large force at the tips of the chisel-like front teeth when slicing the flesh and bones of its prey.

Estemmenosuchus may have been warm-blooded either with an internal heat engine like mammals or what is called an inertial warm-bloodedness maintenance of a high body temperature by controlling loss of heat. This could be achieved by the build of this animal in that it was a large compact form with a low surface area to volume ratio-and so little heat escaped.

At the moment scientists cannot resolve which theory is correct so they are content to work with two hypotheses testing them in the future to get closer to the truth.