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Metoposaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Metoposaurus (Greek for "front lizard"); pronounced meh-TOE-poe-SORE-us


Swamps of North America and western Europe

Historical Period:

Late Triassic (220 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 10 feet long and 500 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Broad, flat skull; splayed legs; long tail


About Metoposaurus:

During long stretches of the Carboniferous and Permian periods, amphibians were the dominant land animals on earth, but some genera continued to flourish well into the age of dinosaurs. A good example is Metoposaurus, a crocodile-like predator with a bizarrely oversized, flat head and a long, fishlike tail. Considering its weak limbs, Metoposaurus wouldn't have posed much of a threat to the earliest dinosaurs, feasting instead on fish in the shallow swamps of North America and western Europe (and probably other parts of the world as well).

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