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Edaphosaurus (meaning "pavement lizard" for dense clusters of teeth) is an extinct genus of edaphosaurid synapsid that lived in what is now North America and Europe around 303.4 to 272.5 million years ago, during the Late Carboniferous to Early Permian. American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope first described Edaphosaurus in 1882, naming it for the "dental pavement" on both the upper and lower jaws, from the Greek edaphos έδαφος ("ground"; also "pavement") and σαῦρος (sauros) ("lizard").

Edaphosaurus is important as one of the earliest-known, large, plant-eating (herbivorous), amniote tetrapods (4-legged land-living vertebrates). In addition to the large tooth plates in its jaws, the most characteristic feature of Edaphosaurus is a sail on its back. A number of other synapsids from the same time period also have tall dorsal sails, most famous the large apex predator Dimetrodon. However, the sail on Edaphosaurus is different in shape and morphology. The first fossils of Edaphosaurus came from the Texas Red Beds in North America, with later finds in New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Ohio. Fragmentary fossils attributed to Edaphosaurus have also been found in eastern Germany in Central Europe.


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Behind the scenes[]

The Edaphosaurus was one of the animals seen in Jim Martin's storyboards for Jurassic World that did not appear in the final film[1] It was seen with a crested hadrosaur (likely Corythosaurus) and an unidentifiable ornithopod gathered around an early design of the Jurassic World Monorail.

If this pelycosaur‎ had made it to the final cut of the film, it would have not only been the first synapsid to be featured in the films, but also the first prehistoric animal that lived before the dinosaurs. This spot would eventually be filled by Dimetrodon as a statue in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and officially in Jurassic World: Dominion with Lystrosaurus.

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