Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Species of Synapsid from Brazil

Picture of the newly discovered Pampaphoneus biccai hunting a pareiasaur

Ok, take a Tiger, then give it the legs and tail of a Komodo Dragon, pull it's skull a bit to look like a Crocodile, and give it the saber teeth of a Homotherium. Then you'll get a good picture of the newly discovered Brazilian synapsid Pampaphoneus biccai.

Pampaphoneus was the top predator in it's environment, and likely preyed on primitive proto-turtles called pareiasaurs that have been known in the area for years. Even though it looks very reptilian in apearance, like all synapsids, Pampaphoneus was more closely related to mammals than it was to other reptiles. While it's not likely to be our direct ancesstor, it's line likely gave rise to the first true mammals. So in a way you can call it our great, great, great, great, great uncle.

Link to the Find:


  1. Hey RaptorX, do you think these Synapsids were warm- or cold-blooded and why?

    1. Interesting question, I've been asking myself that for a while now. I don't normally study synapsids so I don’t know much about their metabolism. Luckily, I recently found some articles and papers talking about the idea. After I'm finished reading them I'll be sure to make a topic about it. ;)

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I'll look forward to reading more about it here!