Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class  ???
Order Therapsida
Suborder Dinocephalia
Family Anteosauridae
Subfamily Anteosaurinae
Genus Anteosaurus
1st Species Anteosaurus magnificus
Other attributes
Time Range 266-260 mya
Location South Africa
Name Meaning Antaeus' reptile
Physical Dimensions 4.8 meters long
Dietary Classification Carnivore
Anteosaurus is an anteosaurid therapsid synapsid from the Guadalupian of South Africa. It was named in 1921 by David Meredith Seares Watson. It was the largest dinocephalian therapsid synapsid, and by extension, the largest carnivorous non-mammalian synapsid.


Anteosaurus was a dinocephalian with 4 legs, a short tail, a long and bulky body, and a big head with a bony dome atop it and a mouth containing large canines in the front and smaller teeth in the back. Unlike other dinocephalians (which had relatively normal proportions), Anteosaurus was a front-heavy therapsid. Its body would have been covered in smooth skin.


Anteosaurus was a predator, preying on pareiasaurs and other dinocephalians. Its large canines were used for slicing flesh, and its bony head dome would have been partially used to stun unsuspecting or weakened prey.


Despite its massive size, Anteosaurus had weak legs; combined with its sprawling legs and short tail, scientists say that it was a semi-aquatic predator similar to a crocodile. In order to hunt, it would lie near the surface, waiting for prey to come by; once they did, it would lunge forward and bite them with extreme power and ferocity. However, the bony dome atop its head tells us that the dinocephalian also spent a reasonable amount of time on land; during mating season, rival males would have either butted heads like a goat or pushed heads like an ox. As well as this, it would have been used as a weapon for stunning prey.

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