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The Edaphosauridae :. Abraham Miranda CSUSB 3.5.09. Edaphosauridae. Barrel bodied Small heads Originally lumped together, the subclass Edaphosauria include Edaphosauridae Casea Lupeosauridae Nitrosauridae

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The edaphosauridae l.jpg

The Edaphosauridae:

Abraham Miranda



Edaphosauridae l.jpg


  • Barrel bodied

  • Small heads

  • Originally lumped together, the subclass Edaphosauria include

    • Edaphosauridae

    • Casea

    • Lupeosauridae

    • Nitrosauridae

  • Romer appeared to have decided Edaphosaurus should have their own subclass, but he was overruled

  • Romer compared the Edaphosaurus to Casea because of their pelycosaur similarities

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The Edaphosauridae

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Where the Edaphosauridae lived…

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Commonalitys of the Edaphosauridae

  • Projection off the frontal bone, creating a large lappet

  • Quadratojugal not connected to the subtemporal bar

  • Lacrimal bone reaches from the orbits to the naris

  • A narrow skull table

  • Have a supraorbial brow or shelf created from the prefrontal, frontal and post frontal bones

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The Edaphosaurid head

  • Postorbital process reduced

  • No connection with the postorbital bone and supratemporal bone

  • Temporal bar is created from the jugal and squamosal bones

  • Quadratojugal jugal is reduced

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Back of the head- Occiput

  • Supraoccipital is smaller compared to sphenacodonts

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Jaw and Tooth

  • Articulation of the jaw joint is below the rows of teeth

  • Dentary bone has a big coronid process

  • The prearticular bone is rotated to fit under the pterygoid process of articular bone

  • All marginal teeth slightly enlarged at distal portions

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The Axial skeleton and the sail

  • Sail: Formed by the neuro spinous processes of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae

  • Neural spines are circular at distal ends

  • Neural spines are laterally compressed at proximal ends

  • Cervical neural spines bend anterioly

  • Posterior neural spines bend posteriorly

  • Neural spine tubercles paired at the proximal ends

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The Neurospine process Sail

  • Neural spines enlongated on presacral bones

    • Short transverse tubercles

  • Distal neural spines loose dual cylinder structure

    • Stolen from Adam Huttenlocker

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Axial and Appendicular skeleton

  • Limbs are short

  • All Edaphosaurs have a curve to ribs

  • Tubercular head of ribs are small ridged

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  • Oldest and most primitive of the Edaphosauridae

  • Two well-preserved specimens found in Garnett, Kansas

  • First found in the Upper Pennsylvanian Rock Lake Shale of the Stanton formation.

  • A stream valley in which there was a slow transgression of flood waters.

  • First unearthed by P.E. Peabody in 1957, and thought to be a Dimetrodon, Reisz in 1982 confirmed this unknown specimen as an edaphosaur

  • Maintained edaphosaur spines, but did not really fit in with the rest of the genus, so a new genus was erected: Ianthasaurus

  • Only known species of Ianthasaurus:


  • Insectivore

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  • Pre and Postfrontal bones articulate to the Parietal

  • Reduced quadratojugal from the temporal bar

  • Small temporal fenestra

  • Long and low maxilla

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Dorsal view of the Ianthasaurus

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Tooth and jaw

  • 27-29 teeth

  • Enlongate maxilla

  • Caniniform teeth

  • Sharp and recurved posteriorly dentition

  • Homodont dentition

  • No toothplates

  • Palatine teeth infer insectivory

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Cervical Vertebrae

  • Centrum lengths of the Cervical vertebrae are greated than the rest of the presacral vertebrae

  • Neural spines running of the cervical vertebrae are thicker and more robust

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Dorsal Vertebrae with ribs

  • Transverse processes of the vertebrae are short

  • Ribs are not strongly curved like the rest of the edaphosaurs

  • Longest neural spine is at vertebrae 17

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Lumbar vertebrae

  • 29 Presacral vertebrae

  • Lack tubercles on the neural spines

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Neural Spine Sail

  • Neural spine sail is the smallest of the Edaphosauridae

  • No more than 5 tubercles on neural spines

  • 27 Neural spines in the sail

  • No central elements in all neural spines

  • Neural spines lean forward in cervical region and rearward in the lumbar region

  • Neural spines begin at third cervical vertebrae on down to the second to last lumbar vertebrae

  • Measurements of the centra impossible to crush and bad preparation

  • Proximal portions of the neural spines are laterally compressed

  • Neural spines are subcircular at the basal tubercle

  • Considered a tool for heat exchange over a sexual dimorphism or “solar collector”

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Appendicular Skeleton

  • Right scapulocorocoid

  • Left pelvis

  • Partial manus

  • Left humerous

  • Only 2 usable Ianthasaurus have been recovered

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Scapula, corocoid, Humerous

  • Medial view: the scapular and anterior corocoid is exposed.

  • Posterior corocoid is unavalible

  • Scapula and corocoid are separated by nature or by degradation along suture contact

  • Gleniod is too poorly preserved

  • Supragleniod foramen exist?

  • At the anterior margin of scapular blade, a notch is seen in many pelcosaurs

  • Function?

  • Anterior corocoid expanded dorsoventrally and with a convex shape.

  • Function?

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The Humerus

  • Humerus badly preserved and featureless

  • Distal end of humerous is narrow and no supinator process seen

  • Diaphysis is almost perfectly round in cross section

  • No evidence of the epiphyses being twisted about the bone

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  • Identified as the ulnare, intermedium medial and lateral centrale

  • Nothing can be offered, not enough.

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Left Pelvis

  • Illuim is well-developed with a blade-like processes extending posteriorly

  • The anterodorsal process is smaller than the posteriordorsal process

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  • Ribs are slighly curved with a smooth tubercular bump

  • Complete ilium has been found

  • Pubis and ischium have been lost

  • Iliac blade is extended posteriorly like other primitive pelycosaurs

  • Obturator foramen on posterior edge , but posterior boarder is opened

  • Indicates that this specimen is immature

  • Ischium retains the structure of other early pelycosaurs

  • Pubis and ischium are narrowly connected below the acetabulum

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  • Lived in the Lower Permian of North-Central Texas

  • Represented by a single skull

  • Shares 5 synapomorphies with Edaphosaurs

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What is G?

G= 5 reasons

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5 Reasons to be an Edaphosaur

  • Transverse flange of pterygiod is missing

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  • The prefrontal bone ventral process is transversly expanded

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5 Reasons to be an Edaphosaur

  • No caniniform teeth

  • No caniniform region

  • Premaxillary and maxillary teeth identical

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  • 8 species currently recognized

  • Edaphosaurus

    • E. boanerges

    • E. cruciger- largest sail

    • E. pogonias

    • E. novomexicanus

    • E. colohistion

    • E. credneri

    • E. raymondi

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Recovered Edaphosaur Remains

  • Most species are described by 1 or 2 badly preserved skulls

  • Many specimens found in the Geraldine Bonebed in Archer County, Texas

  • Larger barrel shaped body over Ianthasaurus

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Edaphosaurus boanerges and friends

  • Dozens of specimens found in North-Central Texas

  • Many complete skulls

  • No so many complete skeletons

  • Used as the model for all Edaphosaurs

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Edaphosaurus boanerges

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Edaphosaurus pongonias

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Skull information

  • Reduced skull size

  • Head is the size of 5 dorsal centra

  • Not as enlongate as the Ianthasaurus

  • Process of the postorbital is short, not extending to the parietal foramen

  • Nasal bone is ¾ the size of the frontal

  • Subtemporal bar is displaced superiorly

  • Temporal fenestra is enlarged anteriorly and posteriorly

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  • Supraorbital shelf is wide and deep concealing the orbits

  • Lacrimal bone is thin at the maxillae and progressively thickens posteriorly suggesting it carries some kind of load and transfers it to the prefrontal

  • Prefrontal and lacrimal form a buttress attachment for reinforcement

  • The nasal bone has a “scarred shelf” and sutures that lock into the prefrontal bone as well as thicken around the orbit.

  • Suggests that carries load for feeding

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  • Premaxilla is enlongated in cross section

  • Premaxilla has 5 teeth, but none have survived to determine dimensions

  • The maxilla accomodates

  • 18-21 teeth

  • No Caniniform teeth

  • No Caniniform region

  • No pterygiod flange

  • All Homodont/isodonty dentition

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Ventral and medial aspects

  • Jaw is suspended way below the upper tooth row

  • Well developed tooth plates on palate and mandible

  • Densely packet teeth

  • Tooth plates form on the palate and inner aspect of the mandible

  • Palatal plate consists of the pterygoidectopterygiod, and palatine

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Ventral and medial aspects

  • Mandibular tooth plate is formed by the coroniod, posterior coroniod, and prearticular bones

  • Denticulated plate is formed by the ant coroniod, coroniod and prearticular bones

  • 120-150 teeth per palatal bone plate

  • Maxilla bone is twisted out laterally

  • Dentary bone is twisted in medially

  • Purpose?

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Edaphosaur mandibles

  • Massive tooth plate found on the mandible, bigger than on the maxilla/palate

  • Deeply cut through mandibularsymphysis

  • Jaw articulation denoted propalinal or front to back movement of jaws

  • Maxillary teeth progressively angle backwards as you go to the dentary bone

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Edaphosaur Teeth

  • Reduced homodont dentition

  • Isodonty in the marginal teeth cropped plant matter

  • Teeth are distally swollen

  • Fine serrated tips curving backwards

  • Palatal and mandibular tooth plates served as primary grinders of plant matter

  • Posterior maxillae and dentary teeth assisted with minor grinding

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Occipital view of the skull

  • Supraoccipital has little lateral exposure

  • Tabular bones are thick towards the parietal, but they are thin and suture into paraocciptal bones

  • Postorbital is a slender sigmiodal bone.


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Cervical Vertebrae

  • Cervical vertebrae are extremely short compared to the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae

  • Ianthasaurus has longer centra on their cervical vertebrae

  • Contain neural spines that are enlongated with longitudinal ridges at the sides of the spines

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Dorsal Vertebrae

  • Anterior to mid dorsal neural spines are tall and pointed. E. boanerges has the second longest neural spines

  • Neural spines are tall and pointed with a slight posterior angulations

  • Multiple lateral tubercules that are arranged laterally across the neural spines

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Sacral and Caudal Vertebrae

  • Neural spine tips of sacral and caudal vertebrae are roughened or crenulated like a castle

  • They have longitudianal ridges that are rough

Anterior view w/ R rib

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Clavicle and Shoulder

  • Ventrally hypertropied clavicle

  • A heavy scapular blade

  • A reinforced or

  • Butressedsupragleniodfossa

  • Increased coracoid processes

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Neuro spinal process (sail)

  • Anterior neural spines neural spines lean forward, lean posteriorly towards lumbar neural spines.

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  • Dorsal ribs are strongly curved to the midline

  • Tuberculae are well developed and slightly roughened

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  • Ilium: anterodorsal process are in equal size of the posterodorsal process.

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Special case: E. raymondi

  • First fragments recovered by P.E. Raymond in Pitcairn,Pennsylvania in 1908

  • Romer and Price wanted to keep this sample as E. mirabilis, but renamed it due to geopgraphic incompatibilies (1940)

  • Permian sample

  • Only small spine fragment with some tubercles found

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Is it really its own species?

  • 12mm long

  • Oval in cross-section

  • Anterior and posterior sides cannot be dicerned

  • Little of lateral tubercle survives

  • Unknown mature sample

  • Declared a novum vanum

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Lupeosaurus…. What happened to the head?

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Lupeosaurus (tenative Edaphosaur)

  • Early Permian pelycosaur found in the Wichita deposits of Texas

  • First thought by Romer or intermediate betweeen Edaphosaurus and Dimetrodon

  • Lack of cranial fossils

  • Lack of Ianthasaurus-like shoulder girdle, nothing to compare it to.

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Cervical Vertebrae

  • Only 3 survived

  • Centrum is 30mm long

  • Have a mid ventral keel

  • The centra have a diamond shape when cut transversly

  • This aspect is considered to be conserved through out the vertebral column

  • Anterior and posterior articular faces have “heavy lips”

  • Transverse processes are nearly identical to Edaphosaurus

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Sacral Vertebrae

  • Sacral vertebrae have been recovered , but the number is unknown

  • Considered robust and shorter, but the anterolateral aspect is dominated by the articulation to the ribs

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All Vertebrae

  • NO tubercles

  • Elevated transverse processes across the vertebral column

  • Zygapophyses are elevated

  • The centrum have a projecting keel

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Neural spines

  • Lacked trabecular crossbars in neural spines

  • Mid-Dorsal Neural spine end missing

  • Neural spines have a forward tilt of 20 degrees at the base

  • Neural spines appear triangular at the base

  • 8 spines have been recovered, considered to belong to the cervical vertebrae

  • Tall and narrow, no lateral depressions or modifications

  • Subcircular in cross-section

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Mid-dorsal vs. Posterior neuro spinal processes

  • Mid Dorsal neural spines extend vertically , or almost perpendicular to level of the vertebral column

  • Posteriodorsalneurospinous processes lean posterior of the animal

  • Maintain a similar orientation to that of Ianthasaurus

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  • Expanded ventral aspect

  • Slightly bigger than the range of the edaphosaur clavicle

  • Anteromedial aspect is thick but the anterodorsal aspect is missing. Maybe some of clavicle is missing!

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  • Dorsal edge of scapula preserved

  • Scapula blade could be larger and longer than any previous recorded pelycosaur!

  • Probably smooth surfaced

  • Contains a broad convex fossa on medial side for large subcorocoid muscle

  • Supragleniod contains lots of bone

  • Gleniodfossa is marginally preserved, hard to analyze

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Ending findings

  • An enlarged sail seems to be primitive, with advanced organisms down regulating the sail size.

  • Conversion from omnivorous to plant eater with advancing species

  • Edaphosaurs and Ianthasaurs clearly vary

    • Look for key features

    • Caniniformvs non-caniniform

    • Prefrontal transverse process

    • Smooth or roughened neural spines

  • Glaucosaurs: an interesting intermediate

  • Lupeosaurs are tenativeedaphosaurs, but their vertebral and spinous process features confirm their standing as Edaphosaurs

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