Ophiacodon Facts

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Ophiacodon (Greek for "snake tooth"); pronounced OH-fee-ACK-oh-don


Swamps of North America

Historical Period:

Late Carboniferous-Early Permian (310-290 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 10 feet long and 100 pounds


Fish and small animals

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; long, narrow head; quadrupedal posture


About Ophiacodon:

One of the largest land animals of the late Carboniferous period, the hundred-pound Ophiacodon may have been the apex predator of its day, feeding opportunistically on fish, insects, and small reptiles and amphibians.

This North American pelycosaur's legs were a bit less stumpy and splayed than those of its closest relative Archaeothyris, and its jaws were relatively massive, so it would have had little difficulty chasing down and eating its prey. (As successful as it was 300 million years ago, though, Ophiacodon and its fellow pelycosaurs had disappeared from the face of the earth by the close of the Permian period.)
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