Life restoration of Labidosaurus

Labidosaurus was an anapsid reptile from the Permian of Texas.

Description[edit | edit source]

Labidosaurus closely resembled a heavily built lizard with a large head. It was about 75 centimeters long from the tip of the head to the tip of the tail.

Classification[edit | edit source]

Cast of a Labidosaurus skeleton

Described by Edward Drinker Cope in 1895[1], Labidosaurus hamatus is the only species in the genus. It is part of the captorhinid family of reptiles, and was one of the largest examples of the family.

Paleobiology[edit | edit source]

Diet[edit | edit source]

The shape of Labidosaurus's teeth suggest that it was likely omnivorous. Its several rows of conical teeth would have been well-adapted to crush the shells of molluscs.[2]

Evidence of infection[edit | edit source]

In 2011, a lower jaw of Labidosaurus was described that showed evidence of an infection called osteomyelitis.[3] This condition affects bone and is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria. In this specimen, the pulp cavity of a broken tooth was exposed to infectious bacteria, and later developed the infection. This is the earliest known case of infection in a land-dwelling vertebrate. Osteomyelitis has also been discovered in the bones of the dinosaur Allosaurus.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  2. Palmer, D., ed (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 63. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  3. Reisz, R.R.; Scott, D.M.; Pynn, B.R.; and Modesto, S.P. (2011). "Osteomyelitis in a Paleozoic reptile: ancient evidence for bacterial infection and its evolutionary significance". Naturwissenschaften 98 (6): 551–555. doi:10.1007/s00114-011-0792-1.
  4. Molnar, R. E., 2001, Theropod paleopathology: a literature survey: In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, p. 337-363.
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