Styracocephalus

Name: Styracocephalus ‭(‬Spike head‭)‬.
Phonetic: Sty-rack-oh-seff-ah-luss.
Named By: Houghton‭ ‬-‭ ‬1929.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Synapsida,‭ ‬Therapsida,‭ ‬Dinocephalia,‭ ‬Tapinocephalidae.
Species: S.‭ ‬platyrhynchus.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: 4.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: South Africa.
Time period: Capitanian of the Permian.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.

       Not to be confused with the ceratopsian dinosaur Styracosaurus,‭ ‬Styracocephalus was a theraspid herbivore from what is now South Africa.‭ ‬At four and a half meters long,‭ ‬it was only slightly smaller than the more famous Moschops,‭ ‬but still appears to have had a similar lifestyle browsing upon vegetation.
       The most recognisable feature of Styracocephalus is the head crest which was quite an elaborate display device for its time.‭ ‬This feature seems to have differed between individuals,‭ ‬and is thought to have been used for the purposes of both species recognition and mate selection,‭ ‬with the most developed crest presumably belonging to the most worthy individuals.
       Styracocephalus possessed a set of crushing‭ ‬teeth as well as a toothed palate for processing the vegetation of the Permian period.‭ ‬However Styracocephalus still had conical canine teeth in the front of its mouth,‭ ‬perhaps as a throwback to a carnivorous ancestry.‭ ‬These canine teeth may still have served an important purpose for a herbivore,‭ ‬perhaps to grip and pull up plant roots from the ground,‭ ‬plant parts that would require the crushing teeth and grinding palate further back in the mouth.




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