Tetraceratops

Name: Tetraceratops ‭(‬Four horned face‭)‬.
Phonetic: Tet-rah-ceh-rah-tops.
Named By: Matthew‭ ‬-‭ ‬1908.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Synapsida,‭ ‬Classification between Class and Family‭ ‬is uncertain Tetraceratopsidae.
Species: T.‭ ‬insignis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull is‭ ‬9‭ ‬centimetres long.‭ ‬Total body length unknown due to lack of fossil material.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Texas.
Time period: Sakmarian of the Permian.
Fossil representation: Single skull.

       Tetraceratops has proven a headache for palaeontologists since its discovery,‭ ‬as it is either a pelycosaur,‭ ‬or potentially an early form of the coming therapsids that would displace the pelycosaurs as dominant predators.‭ ‬Evidence to support the therapsid theory comes from similarities in the temporal fenestra between Tetraceratops and biarmarosuchians,‭ ‬primitive therapsids that include Biarmosuchus.
       Whatever its phylogenetic‭ ‬lineage,‭ ‬Tetraceratops acquired its name from the four horns that adorn the top of its head.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬another pair of horns actually protruded from the rear corners of its mandible‭ (‬lower jaw‭)‬.‭
       Study of the area where the skull came from suggests that Tetraceratops lived in a drier,‭ ‬woodland environment.‭ ‬The smaller skull of Tetraceratops compared to other pelycosaurs like Ophiacodon would suggest an overall smaller body size.‭ ‬This may have allowed Tetraceratops to hunt for smaller reptiles away from the wetter swamp environments that seem to have been populated by the larger predatory pelycosaurs.




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