Procolophonidae is an extinct family of small, lizard-like parareptiles known from the Late Permian to Late Triassic that were distributed across Pangaea, having been reported from Europe, North America, China, South Africa, South America, Antarctica and Australia. The most primitive procolophonids were likely insectiovous or omnivorous, more derived members of the clade developed bicusped molars, and were likely herbivorous feeding on high fiber vegetation or durophagous omnivores.[3] Many members of the group are noted for spines projecting from the quadratojugal bone of the skull, which likely served a defensive purpose as well as possibly also for display.[4] At least some taxa were likely fossorial burrowers.[5] While diverse during the Early and Middle Triassic, they had very low diversity during the Late Triassic, and were extinct by the beginning of the Jurassic.[6]

Temporal range: Late Permian–Late Triassic
Kapes full skeleton.jpg
Kapes bentoni life restoration.jpg
Skeleton (top) and life restoration (bottom) of Kapes bentoni (Procolophoninae) scale bar = 1cm
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Parareptilia
Order: Procolophonomorpha
Superfamily: Procolophonoidea
Family: Procolophonidae
Seeley, 1888
Subgroups and Genera
  • Sclerosauridae Nopcsa, 1923[1][2]
Skull of Kapes bentoni


Below is a cladogram from Ruta et al. (2011):[7]


Coletta seca

Pintosaurus magnidentis

Sauropareion anoplus

Kitchingnathus untabeni

Phaanthosaurus ignatjevi

Phaanthosaurus simus


Eumetabolodon dongshengensis

Theledectes perforatus

Tichvinskia vjatkensis


Pentaedrusaurus ordosianus

Neoprocolophon asiaticus

Sclerosaurus armatus

Scoloparia glyphanodon

Leptopleuron lacertinum

Soturnia caliodon

Hypsognathus fenneri


Eumetabolodon bathycephalus

Procolophon trigoniceps

Teratophon spinigenis

Thelerpeton oppressus

Timanophon raridentatus

Thelephon contritus

Anomoiodon liliensterni

Kapes amaenus

Kapes bentoni

Kapes komiensis

Kapes majmesculae


  1. ^ Cisneros, J. C. (2008). "Phylogenetic relationships of procolophonid parareptiles with remarks on their geological record". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 6 (3): 345–366. doi:10.1017/S1477201907002350. S2CID 84468714.
  2. ^ Hans-Dieter Sues and Robert R. Reisz (2008). "Anatomy and Phylogenetic Relationships of Sclerosaurus armatus (Amniota: Parareptilia) from the Buntsandstein (Triassic) of Europe". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 28 (4): 1031–1042. doi:10.1671/0272-4634-28.4.1031. S2CID 53967912.
  3. ^ Pinheiro, Felipe L.; Silva‐Neves, Eduardo; Da‐Rosa, Átila A. S. (August 2021). Ruta, Marcello (ed.). "An early‐diverging procolophonid from the lowermost Triassic of South America and the origins of herbivory in Procolophonoidea". Papers in Palaeontology. 7 (3): 1601–1612. doi:10.1002/spp2.1355. ISSN 2056-2799.
  4. ^ Zaher, Marta; Coram, Robert A.; Benton, Michael J. (February 2019). Angielczyk, Kenneth (ed.). "The Middle Triassic procolophonid Kapes bentoni : computed tomography of the skull and skeleton". Papers in Palaeontology. 5 (1): 111–138. doi:10.1002/spp2.1232.
  5. ^ Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Smith, Roger Malcolm Harris (September 2012). "Palaeobiology of Triassic procolophonids, inferred from bone microstructure". Comptes Rendus Palevol. 11 (6): 419–433. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2012.03.002.
  6. ^ MacDougall, Mark J.; Brocklehurst, Neil; Fröbisch, Jörg (2019-03-20). "Species richness and disparity of parareptiles across the end-Permian mass extinction". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286 (1899): 20182572. doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.2572. ISSN 0962-8452.
  7. ^ Ruta, M.; Cisneros, J. C.; Liebrecht, T.; Tsuji, L. A.; Müller, J. (2011). "Amniotes through major biological crises: Faunal turnover among Parareptiles and the end-Permian mass extinction". Palaeontology. 54 (5): 1117–1137. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01051.x.


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