Styracocephalus platyrhynchus

Originally described based on a badly preserved skull, the exact affinities of this South African therapsid was unclear until new materials were found. It is now thought to be an unusual primitive tapinocephalian.


Styracocephalus platyrhynchus


Haughton, 1929

Meaning of the generic name

Spiked head


Skull length: 30 cm , Length: 1.8 m


Holotype (SAM 8936): dorsoventrally compressed skull with greater portion of left ramus of lower jaw.
Referred specimens: SAM K8071 (occiput with portions of skull roof and basicranium); SAM 9346 (Posterior portion of skull roof and separate portion with heeled incisor teeth);
SAM K364 (Posterior portion of skull roof); SAM 12201 (Portion of skull roof); SAM 12187 (Posterior portion of skull roof);  SAM 12181 (Posterior portion of skull roof with right ‘horn’); SAM 12215 (skull roof with horns preserved, and other skull fragments); BP/1/5433 (Posterior portion of skull roof with left ‘horn’); BP/1/5428 (Fragmentary pieces of skull roof);  BP/1/5485 (Portion of skull roof).

Age and Distribution

Horizon: Tapinocephalus assemblage zone, Middle Permian (Capitanian).
Type locality:
Beaufort West, Fraserburg, Laingsburg, Murraysburg, and Abrahamskraal, Prince Albert, South Africa.


Synapsida Therapsida Dinocephalia Tapinocephalia Styracocephalidae

  Further Reading

  Haughton, S. H., 1929. On some new therapsid genera: Annals of the South African Museum, v. 28, p. 55-78.
Rubidge, B. S., and van den Heever, J. A., 1997. Morphology and systematic position of the dinocephalian Styracocephalus platyrhynchus: Lethaia, v. 30, p. 157-168.



Life reconstruction of Styracocephalus platyrhynchus (© karkemish00)

Skull reconstruction of Styracocephalus platyrhynchus. From Rubidge and Heever, 1997.