Pampaphoneus biccai

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An international team of researchers documented the discovery of a 265-million-year-old fossil of the species Pampaphoneus biccai which was found in Brazil.

About Pampaphoneus biccai:

  • It belongs to the early therapsid clade called dinocephalians.
  • It lived just before the largest extinction event in the history of Earth. That event eliminated 86 per cent of all animal species across the globe.
  • Before the extinction event, dinocephalians were one of the major groups of large terrestrial animals that thrived on land.
  • They were medium to large-sized creatures with both carnivorous and herbivorous representatives.
  •  They had thick cranial bones, which led to the group's name which translates to "terrible head" in Greek.
  • These animals are rare in other parts of the world but well-known in South Africa and Russia.
  • It is the only known species in Brazil. 

Q1: What are Dinocephalians?

Dinocephalians, also known as Dinocephalia, were a group of extinct prehistoric reptiles that lived during the Permian period, approximately 290 to 260 million years ago. They belong to a larger group called Therapsida, which also includes the ancestors of modern mammals. 

Source: The 265-million-year-old fossil belongs to the oldest, largest South American predator before dinosaurs