Eryops

Name: Eryops‭ (‬Drawn out face‭)
Phonetic: Eh-ry-ops.
Named By: Edward Drinker Cope‭ ‬-‭ ‬1877.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Amphibia,‭ ‬Temnospondyli,‭ ‬Eryopoidea,‭ ‬Eryopidae.
Species: E.‭ ‬megacephalus.
Type: Carnivore/piscivore.
Size: 1.5‭ ‬-‭ ‬2‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: USA.
Time period: Lower Permian.
Fossil representation: Several skeletons,‭ ‬skull is often preserved due to its strong build.

       Eryops is one of the better represented predators of the early Permian era,‭ ‬and is likely to have been near to the top of the food chain.‭ ‬It had a particularly stocky build which was supported by a particularly strong spine so that it would not suffocate under its own bulk.‭ ‬Respiration was carried out by actually breathing into lungs as opposed to reliance on breathing through the skin,‭ ‬which would not have been very efficient due to the body mass to skin surface area ratio.
       Due to the robust bones of the skull,‭ ‬it is one of the better preserved and understood parts.‭ ‬Of particular note is the ear structure which is well adapted for use out of the water.‭ ‬Eryops had no chewing motion in its jaw structure and would have had to swallow its prey‭ ‬whole.‭ ‬A very special predatory adaptation is teeth on the palate‭ (‬roof of the mouth‭) ‬that would have helped in seizing and holding onto prey as it tossed it around for swallowing.‭
       Although Eryops had some good terrestrial adaptations,‭ ‬its bulk meant that it would have been very slow and cumbersome while on the land.‭ ‬The limbs projected out from the sides and would have only just been able to lift the body off the ground.‭ ‬While in the water however,‭ ‬Eryops had the buoyancy of the water to support its bulk and it would have been a much more agile hunter.

Further reading
- Descriptions of extinct Vertebrata from the Permian and Triassic formations of the United States. - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 17(100):182-193 - Edward Drinker Cope - 1877.
- Eryopsid Remains from the Conemaugh Group, Braxton County, West Virginia - Southeastern Geology, 13(4): 265-273. - James L. Murphy - 1971.
- Upper Pennsylvanian tetrapods from the Ada Formation of Seminole County, Oklahoma. - Journal of Paleontology 76(3):529-545 - R. A. Kissel & T. M. Lehman - 2002.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random favourites