Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class  ???
Order Pelycosauria
Family Edaphosauridae
Genus Edaphosaurus
1st Species Edaphosaurus pogonias
2nd Species Edaphosaurus cruciger
3rd Species Edaphosaurus novomexicanus
4th Species Edaphosaurus boanerges
Other attributes
Time Range 300-280 mya
Location United States of America (possibly Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia)
Name Meaning Pavement lizard
Physical Dimensions 3.3 meters long for E.cruciger
Dietary Classification Herbivore

Edaphosaurus is an edaphosaurid pelycosaur synapsid from the Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian of the United States of America and possibly Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It was officially named in 1882 by Edward Drinker Cope. It was one of the first herbivorous vertebrates to walk the earth, and was thought to be a species of Dimetrodon before finally being described as its own genus.


Edaphosaurus had the generic pelycosaur synapsid build, with 4 legs, a long tail, a bulky body, and a moderately-sized head. However, it had a few major differences; for example, it had a large sail on its back, its head was more lizard-like than any other synapsid, and instead of having big, knife-like teeth, it had blunt, peg-like teeth. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Edaphosaurus was an herbivore, feeding on plants low to the ground. Its small teeth were shaped like pegs, and were used to process vegetation before the synapsid swallowed it.


The function of Edaphosaurus's large sail remains open to debate; many theories that emerged include being used as a wind sail for blowing it across the swamps, as well as protection from potential predators such as Dimetrodon, a fatty hump for surviving droughts, or regulation of body temperature. Today, the most widely accepted theory is that it possibly was just used for display. As well as this, it was once believed that Edaphosaurus's teeth were used to grind up mollusks on the riverbeds; however, recent tooth examinations have shown that they were more adapted to shredding plants. Wear marks on its teeth meant that it was capable of a limited chewing mechanism used for grinding food.

In popular cultureEdit

Edaphosaurus was featured in the 2nd episode of the 2005 documentary Walking with Monsters, where it is depicted as evolving from Petrolacosaurus over a course of 22 (or 2) million years. As well as this, it is shown as using its sail for thermoregulation, as well as for flashing its colors in an attempt to scare off predators like Dimetrodon.

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