Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order  ???
Family  ???
Genus Atopodentatus
1st Species Atopodentatus unicus
Other attributes
Time Range 247-242 mya
Location China
Name Meaning Strange toothed
Physical Dimensions 2.7 meters long
Dietary Classification Herbivore

Atopodentatus is a reptile from the Middle Triassic of China. It was named in 2014 by L. Cheng and his crew. It was one of the earliest herbivorous marine reptiles to exist, and was once thought to have a strange, zipper-like upper jaw, right before they discovered that its skull was crushed.


Atopodentatus was a reptile with a slender body, short legs, a long tail, and a mid-sized head with wide, hammer-shaped jaws. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Atopodentatus was an herbivore, feeding on algae. Its small teeth were shaped like chisels, and were used to scrape plant matter off the rocky seafloor.


When Atopodentatus was first discovered, people had thought it to have had a unique, zipper-like upper jaw, hence the meaning of its name, "strange toothed". Due to this, they had assumed that it was a sediment feeder, using its jaw to grab a large pile of sediment and filter all the silt and mud out, trapping any small invertebrates in its jaws. 2 years later, however, a new fossil discovery had shown that the reptile had a wide, hammer-shaped jaw, and that the original skull was badly crushed. Adding onto the fact that its teeth were so differently shaped from what everyone thought them out to be, it is now reconstructed as an aquatic herbivore, using its jaws to scrape algae off the seafloor.

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