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Pareiasaurus is an extinct genus of the Pareiasauromorph reptile, which belongs to the Permian period. Their fossils have been found in the Beaufort group. It is a large quadruped and has two different main species, namely P. nasicornis (Haughton and Boonstra, 1929) and P. peringueyi (Haughton and Boonstra, 1929). The P. nasicornis may have been the first representative of this genus, found in the Tropidostoma Zone, Karoo Basin, South Africa. They are a huge animal species whose skull is around 19.68 in (50 cm) in length. According to researches, they might be ancestral to Pareiasaurus peringueyi. The Pareiasaurus name has a broad range of synonyms, the most famous of which is ‘cheek lizard’.
The P. peringueyi genera were also found in the Karoo basin in South Africa. They are not so large, but more of a medium-sized animal. A nearly complete skeleton was found in the Zak River in South Africa, showing their unique large quadratojugal region. It also showed 13 teeth in the upper jaw, each armored with 13-15 cusps. According to the references, a late species of the genus Pareiasuchus named P. serridens of the family Pareiasauridae was discovered by the scientist Owen in 1876. In this species, the armor is well developed and the teeth are in 14 pairs, each with 9-11 cusps. They have a sister group called Pareiasauromorph, which is considered as a monophyletic node to procolophonids.
You can also check out other interesting dinosaur species such as the Ichthyovenator and Orodromeus.
The pronunciation of Pareiasaurus is 'pa-rei-ia-soo-rus'.
Pareiasaurs were large Bradysaurus, an early and common species of dinosaurs whose fossils were known from the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (Capitanian age) of the South African Karoo. They were also herbivores of the late Middle Permian Period, belonging to the Procolophonomorpha and clade pareiasauria orders. The English biologist, H.G. Seeley, established the two dinosaurian orders in 1887, a difference still maintained today! Seeley differentiated them based on their pelvis. Some were different in their physical structure between various saurischians. These types appeared very suddenly in the fossil record.
Pareiasaurs lived about 250 million years ago during the Permian period distribution in South Africa and Europe. There was a species of non-bird dinosaurs who lived about 45 and 66 million years ago and during the Mesozoic Era.
The Pareiasaurus used to live 252 million years ago are an extinct clade of Para-reptiles, comprising the family Pareiasauridae. They are one of the largest species extinctions ever to rock the earth. They roamed the earth around 10 million years ago before they went extinct.
Pareiasaurs dinosaurs were part of a group of anapsids found in the Upper Permian. They used to live in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were also found in Russia, Scotland, Germany, Asia (China), and South America, but it is not known whether there were distinct groups on each of these continents.
The Pareiasaurus mostly preferred aquatic, semi-aquatic, to fully terrestrial lifestyles and lived during the Middle and Late Permian times. They were also fond of living in open vegetation areas in the desert.
Pareiasaurs included three other types of members, namely Pareiasaurus serridens, P. baini, P. bombidens, and P. russouwi. They were known to live in groups or sometimes alone or in pairs. This shows that they were sociable animals and seemed quite harmless to other animals.
Bradysaurus of the extinct genus of the Pareiasaurus taxon was a prehistoric animal that reigned over the earth. When their extinction began, nearly 90% of their population was cleared all at once. Their actual lifespan is not known to date.
The exact procedure or process of their mating rituals is not known as they went extinct a million years ago. Researchers believe that they may have had a similar lifestyle and reproduction system to that of tortoises. Hard shells of their eggs have also been discovered in several regions where fossils of the Pareiasaurus were found. This was how scientists came to the conclusion that they were egg-laying animals.
Interestingly enough, the Pareiasaurus is known as the ugliest fossil reptile. As per the Pareiasaurus's appearance, the body description of these dinosaurs has been found to be quite stocky, with short tails and a small head. Their skeletons showed that they had skulls that ranged between 16.53-18.89 in (42-48 cm) in length, along with strong limbs, broad feet, short tails, and well-developed armors. As reptiles with shells, they are said to have resembled modern-day turtles. When they felt threatened by predators, they were protected by bony scutes (osteoderms) set in the skin, and sharp teeth shaped like a leaf. Scientist Michael Lee agreed that the Pareiasaurus was in fact the direct ancestor of modern turtles. Some of their features matched those of a turtle and in several genera, the scutes had developed into bony plates. Their whole body is secured by dermal scutes, although these are not as thick or heavy as they are in more advanced forms. They have a fearsome body structure, but in reality, they were known as inoffensive herbivores.
The Pareiasaurus's skeleton shows that they were large animals. They had a huge range of bones, including armored cheekbones, skull bones, and many others. However, it is not clear exactly how many bones this fascinating dinosaur had.
Research on this type of dinosaur revealed that they did not communicate much, but they may have made loud bellowing sounds.
They were huge dinosaurs that were clearly distinguished from the Pareiasaurus skeleton. They had a total body length of around 8.2 ft (2.5 m), which is quite large compared to the modern giant tortoise.
They used to live in open areas and therefore had a moderate speed. They are herbivores and do not feed on other animals, which shows that they may not have boasted great speeds to chase their prey.
The Pareiasaur weighed around 1,322.7 lb (600 kg), as it was heavily filled with a lot of mass. These prehistoric animals were very large, therefore their body weighed quite a lot, as can be seen in the skeletons found at the Natural History Museum.
There are no specific names used to describe the male and female of these animals, therefore, they are simply called the male Pareiasaurus and the female Pareiasaurus.
The young of the Pareiasaurus is generally called a baby Pareiasaurus.
They had a fearsome body structure, but in reality, they were known as inoffensive herbivores. A Pareiasaurus's diet included plants and even rocks sometimes. They chewed food with the help of their leaf-shaped teeth and ate tough plant fibers and roots.
The deep, capacious body shows that they were complete herbivores and were not so aggressive towards any other animal as they had no reason to harm them. However, they would make loud bellows sometimes, which may have conveyed a sense of danger.
Some of the fossils of these animals have been found across the globe in Russia, South Africa, and China. These dinosaurs became extinct at an early age, around 252 million years ago. They had great skulls and skeletons, which made scientists assume that they were smarter than other similar species.
There are two different species which were classified as B. baini (Seeley, 1892), who used to live in Lower Beaufort Beds, Karoo basin, South Africa in the Tapinocephalus zone, and the B. seeley who also lived in Lower Beaufort Beds, Karoo basin, South Africa in the Tapinocephalus zone. Since they were herbivorous, it is unlikely that they bit. Also, since they lived on land, they were not slimy.
The Pareiasaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur, and it was discovered when it was seen that they were the ideal animal for biting tough plant fibers as even their palate had teeth. The Pareiasaurus name was derived from the pareiasaur by M.S.Y. Lee in 1997.
They had leaf-shaped multi-cusped teeth that resemble those of iguanas, caseids, and other reptilian herbivores, as well as a sharp jaw, as discovered from their skeleton.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Puertasaurus facts and Yinlong facts pages
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Pareiasaurus coloring pages.
Main image by Nobu Tamura.
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