Ctenospondylus

Name: Ctenospondylus ‭(‬Comb vertebrae‭)‬.
Phonetic: Sten-oh-spon-de-lus.
Named By: A.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Romer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1936.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Synapsida,‭ ‬Pelycosauria,‭ ‬Sphenacodontidae.
Species: C.‭ ‬casei‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬ninevehensis.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: About‭ ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Ohio‭ ‬-‭ ‬Greene Formation,‭ ‬Texas‭ ‬-‭ ‬Belle Plains Formation,‭ ‬and Utah‭ ‬-‭ ‬Cutler Formation.
Time period: Sakimarian to Roadian of the Permian.
Fossil representation: Remains of several individuals.

       Ctenospondylus was one of the larger sail-backed pelycosaurs that so far is only known from the central United States.‭ ‬It is probable though that Ctenospondylus had a wider distribution,‭ ‬at least in North America,‭ ‬though the lack of known fossil bearing rock formations from the Permian is limited to just a few areas.
       Ctenospondylus is classed as a sphenacodontid,‭ ‬a member of the Sphenacodontidae which is a group typified by the type genus Sphenacodon,‭ ‬though this genus seems to lack a sail.‭ ‬At up to three meters long,‭ ‬Ctenospondylus would have been amongst the larger predators of their ecosystem,‭ ‬and may have hunted other smaller pelycosaurs,‭ ‬especially herbivorous ones such as caseiids like Casea.‭ ‬However even Ctenospondylus was dwarfed by some pelycosaur herbivores,‭ ‬such as the caseiid Cotylorhynchus.
       Like with other sail-backed pelycosaurs,‭ ‬the sail on the back of Ctenospondylus is believed to have been primarily for thermoregulation of body temperature,‭ ‬though it may have additionally served a display purpose so that individuals of Ctenospondylus could identify one another from other kinds of sail-backed pelycosaurs.‭ ‬Examples of these include the famous Dimetrodon,‭ ‬Secodontosaurus,‭ ‬and Edaphosaurus,‭ ‬which are also known to have been around and active in the same locations at the same times as Ctenospondylus.
       At the time of writing the type species of Ctenospondylus,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬casei,‭ ‬is known from Texas and Utah,‭ ‬while the second species C.‭ ‬ninevehensis is known from Ohio.


Ctenospondylus, Dimetrodon, Edaphosaurus, Ianthasaurus, Secodontosaurus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Studies on American Permo-Carboniferous reptiles.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Problems of Paleontology‭ ‬1:85-93‭ ‬-‭ ‬A.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Romer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1936.
-‭ ‬Global Permian tetrapod biostratigraphy and biochronology In S.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Lucas,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Cassinis‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Schneider‭ ‬-‭ ‬Non-Marine Permian Biostratigraphy and Biochronology.‭ ‬Special Publications‭ ‬265.‭ ‬London:‭ ‬Geological Society.‭ ‬pp.‭ ‬65‭–‬93‭ ‬-‭ ‬S.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Lucas‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.



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