PAMPAPHONEUS BICCAI (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     16th September 2023        

Context: Recently, an international team of researchers published their documentation of the discovery of a 265-million-year-old fossil species found in Brazil in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Pampaphoneus biccai

  • Early Therapsid Clade: Belong to the early therapsid clade known as Dinocephalians.
  • Prehistoric Existence: These creatures lived just before the Earth's largest extinction event in history, which wiped out 86 percent of all animal species globally.
  • Land Dominance: Before the extinction event, dinocephalians were a prominent group of large terrestrial animals thriving on land.
  • Diverse Diet: Both carnivorous and herbivorous members display a wide range of dietary preferences.
  • Cranial Features: Their name, "Dinocephalians," is derived from their thick cranial bones, which translates to "terrible head" in Greek.
  • Geographic Distribution: While these animals are rare in most parts of the world, they are well-documented in South Africa and Russia.

oDinocephalian is the only known species of its kind in Brazil.