The Diadectes was a reptile-like amphibian discovered by Edward Drinker Cope in 1878. Specimens of the prehistoric animal living during the early Permian epoch were unearthed from the formation of Texas Red Beds. The generic name, Diadectes, was coined by Cope. The animal was known to have several synonyms published by Cope, Marsh, Case & Williston, and Berman like the Nothodon, the Helodectes, the Chilonyx, the Diadectoides, the Silvadectes, the Animasaurus, the Bolbodon, the Empedias, and the Empedocles. Further, paleontologists classified several subspecies under the genus including the Diadectes lentus, the Diadectes sideropelicus, the Diadectes tenuitectus, the Diadectes carinatus, and the Diadectes absitus.
A Teratosaurus meaning 'monster lizard' was known as the primitive genus of the carnivore Theropod, while a Diadectes belongs to the clade Reptiliomorpha, primarily including amniotes and tetrapods, sharing a common ancestor with amniotes. The Teratosaurus was a carnivore while the Diadectes was an herbivorous animal. Thus, the Teratosaurus and Diadectes are neither related to each other nor are considered similar species.
Diadectes is pronounced as 'Die-ah-deck-tees'. The generic name was coined in 1878 by the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. The binomial name of the genus also has several synonyms like the Nothodon, the Helodectes, the Chilonyx, the Diadectoides, the Silvadectes, the Animasaurus, the Bolbodon, the Empedias, and the Empedocles. These synonyms were published by American paleontologists including Cope, Marsh, Case & Williston, and Berman, while the Diadectes is known as the senior synonym.
Although the taxonomic classification of the Diadectes states it to be a primitive amniote, it is thought to have had traits of both an amphibian and a reptilian. It had a reptile-like skeleton, while the skull was quite similar to stem-tetrapods. It was a prehistoric creature living during the early Permian period around 290-272 million years ago. It was known to have an herbivorous diet, primarily including high-fiber plant material.
The history of the Diadectes dates back to the late Carboniferous epochand the early Permian epoch between Artinskian-Kungurian stages. Fossil remains were found and named in 1878 by Edward Drinker Cope specifying the taxonomic classification of the prehistoric creature. The Diadectes skull is housed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and is also documented by the Graduate Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
The Diadectes was found in the early Permian stage and lived around 290-272 million years ago. Because fossil remains are the only source to study the species, there is no specific threat recorded having endangered the population of the primitive animal. Natural disasters, habitat loss, and predators were some possible causes leading to the classification of the Diadectes as an extinct species. The Diadectes is found in the form of a mounted skeleton or in documentations recorded by the Graduate Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
As fossils of the Diadectes were found primarily in the formation of Texas Red Beds, it was described by Edward Drinker Cope to have lived across North America.
Edward Drinker Cope did not classify a specific habitat range for Diadectes, but the herbivorous species probably inhabited grasslands, forests, deserts, beaches, woodlands, wetlands, and areas with plentiful vegetation.
Diadectes fossil remains assisted Edward Drinker Cope to determine the taxonomic classification, the Diadectes size, body length, and weight, but the behavior of the reptile-like amphibian is not documented. Although it is thought that the Diadectes often lived in a group, its social behavior remains questionable.
The life span of the Diadectes is not known.
The Diadectes reproduction is a conundrum. It was most likely an oviparous animal that laid eggs which hatched into tadpoles.
Diadectes fossil remains comprise ribs, limbs, vertebrae, and a skull. Diadectes skeletal specimens had traits of both an amphibian and a reptilian. The skull was considerably heavy, having traits of the Seymouriamorpha. Limbs were robust with massive limb girdles. It was known to have strong jaw muscles to feed upon plant material suggesting an herbivorous diet. The restoration of the body of the heavily built prehistoric animal is based on fossils uncovered from the formation of Texas Red Beds.
Since the skull, ribs, limbs, and vertebrae were the only fossil remains recovered from the formation of Texas Red Beds, the number of bones in the body of a Diadectes is not documented so far.
The communication mechanism of the Diadectes, wildlife creatures which lived during the early Permian stage, is not known so far.
While the Diadectes height is not computed, the length of the prehistoric animal ranged between 5-10 ft (1.5-3 m).
The reptile-like amphibian was a terrestrial animal, but the speed of a Diadectes is not recorded.
A Diadectes is one of the earliest discovered amphibians, but the weight of the Diadectes is not computed so far.
Males and females of the Diadectes species do not have sex-specific names. The binomial name of the Diadectes is documented to have several synonyms like the Nothodon, the Helodectes, the Chilonyx, the Diadectoides, the Silvadectes, the Animasaurus, the Bolbodon, the Empedias, and the Empedocles.
A baby Diadectes, like other juvenile reptiles and amphibians, is called a hatchling.
Diadectes teeth were known to have traits similar to those of animals having an herbivorous diet. The front eight teeth functioned as incisors, while cheek teeth were broad and blunt serving as molars. It primarily fed upon plants and vegetation planted within its range.
The Diadectes did not appear to have an aggressive temperament.
The Diadectes, named and discovered by Edward Drinker Cope, has several subspecies including the Diadectes lentus, the Diadectes sideropelicus, the Diadectes tenuitectus, the Diadectes carinatus, and the Diadectes absitus. A mounted skeleton is preserved in the American Museum of Natural History. The thesis of the prehistoric creature was published by the Graduate Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.
Edward Drinker Cope highlighted, 'Teeth with short and many compressed crowns, whose long axis is transverse to that of the jaws', and thus, coined the name of the genus as Diactectus meaning 'crosswise biter'. The generic name had a Greek origin derived from the terms 'dia' and 'dēktēs' meaning 'crosswise' and 'biter', respectively. It has several synonyms; while the Nothodon was coined by O. C. Marsh, the Diadectes named by Cope was characterized as its senior synonym.
The Diadectes was closely related to reptiles and amphibians. Specifically, it belonged to the group of reptile-like amphibians. It had a skeleton similar to that of reptilians.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Ichthyovenator interesting facts and Gargoyleosaurus facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable diadectes coloring pages.
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