STL Science Center

STL Science Center

27 February 2018

Titanophoneus Written in Ink

Possessing teeth and bodies that were grotesque and enormous, by Permian standards at least, Titanophoneus has been the center of a few hypotheses (alongside Gorgonops) of how dinocephalians hunted and killed their prey. Existing before Gorgonops (Late Permian), Titanophoneus may have laid some of the behavioral groundwork, in the Middle Permian, for the slightly better known predator of the Late Permian. Barghusen (1975) discussed these hypothetical behaviors and inferred their implications for inter- and intra-species combat in dinocephalians. Some of the adaptations discussed by Barghusen were also discussed by Rowe and van den Heever in 1986 and Hopson in 1995. These two papers both discussed the evolution and characters of the manus ("hand" in some mentions in the two papers) of dinocephalians. The original descriptions of Titanophoneus are largely missing, online. Therefore, the best descriptions that we have online are in these three articles and the Tree of Life website. Lauren and Reisz edited the "Autapomorphies of the main clades of synapsids" page which covers any and all characteristics that may gave been previously overlooked or ignored in the papers on feeding/fighting and the hand.

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