Named By: Robert Broom - 1931.
Classification: Chordata, Synapsida, Therapsida, Therocephalia, Akidnognathidae.
Species: E. mirabilis (type).
Size: Skull up to 11.6 centimetres long.
Known locations: South Africa.
Time period: Late Permian.
Fossil representation: Partial remains.
would have been an unassuming little therocephalian therapsid were it
not for one thing; it was possibly venomous. There are small
recesses in the jaw behind each canine tooth, possibly to house venom
glands. The canine teeth also have grooves running down their length
in a similar way to what we can see in venomous snakes. The model
here works upon the principal that the canine teeth puncture through
the tough skin of a prey animal. This pressure squeezes the venom
gland at the base of the tooth causing venom to squeeze out and down
the grooves of the teeth, and into the flesh of the prey animal. If
this assessment is correct then Euchambersia
would have had an
incredibly potent weapon for killing the herbivorous animals of the
late Permian, many of which were physically bigger and more powerful
In 2015 a new genus of therocephalian therapsid, Ichibengops, was also interpreted as having a venomous bite similar to Euchambersia. While this may not mean that all therocephalian therapsids were venomous, it does raise the prospect that venom was a weapon that may have been used across multiple genera.
- On the biology of the Theromorphous reptile Euchambersia. - Annals and Magazine of Natural History: Series 10 Volume 12, Issue 67. - Francis Baron Nopcsa - 1933.
- A review of the "venomous therocephalian" hypothesis and how multiple re-portrayals of Euchambersia have influenced its success and vice versa. - Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France. 187 (4): 217–224. - J. Benoit - 2016.
- Reappraisal of the envenoming capacity of Euchambersia mirabilis (Therapsida, Therocephalia) using μCT-scanning techniques. - PLoS ONE. 12 (2): e0172047. - Julien Benoit Luke A. Norton, Paul R. Manger & Bruce S. Rubidge - 2013.