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Cotylorhynchus (Wikimedia Commons)


Cotylorhynchus (Greek for "cup snout"); pronounced COE-tih-low-RINK-us


Swamps of North America

Historical Period:

Middle Permian (285-265 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 15 feet long and one ton



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large, swollen trunk; small head


About Cotylorhynchus:

Cotylorhynchus had the classic body plan of the large pelycosaurs of the Permian period: a huge, bloated trunk (the better to hold all of the intestines it needed to digest tough vegetable matter), a tiny head, and stubby, splayed legs. This early reptile was probably the largest land animal of its time (superannuated adults may have reached two tons in weight), meaning that full-grown individuals would have been virtually immune from predation by the much wimpier predators of their day. One of the closest relatives of Cotylorhynchus was the equally ungainly Casea, whose name is Greek for "cheese."

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