The Triassic Reptile With “Two Faces”


From PBS Eons.

Figuring out what this creature’s face actually looked like would take paleontologists years. But understanding this weird animal can help us shine a light on at least one way for ecosystems to bounce back from even the worst mass extinction.

Thanks to Ceri Thomas ( for the many excellent Triassic reptile illustrations (both Atopodentatus and Henodus) featured in this episode!

And thanks to Xiao-Chun Wu, Nick Fraser, and Shixue Hu for providing photos for this video!

Finally, thanks to Joschua Knüppe ( (the thumbnail illustration!), Julio Lacerda (, Jaime Headden (, and Dmitry Bogdanov for their wonderful paleoart as well.

Both Atopodentatus papers discussed in this video:
Cheng, L., Chen, X., Shang, Q. et al. 2014. A new marine reptile from the Triassic of China, with a highly specialized feeding adaptation. Naturwissenschaften 101, 251–259 DO1: 10.1007/s00114-014-1148-4

Chun, L., Rieppel, O., Long, C. & Fraser, N.C. 2016. The earliest herbivorous marine reptile and its remarkable jaw apparatus. Science Advances 2(5): e1501659 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501659

And on the paper on the Luoping biota:
Hu, S., Zhang, Q., Chen, Z.Q., Zhou, C., Lu, T. Xie, T., Wen, W., Huang, J. & Benton, M.J. 2010. The Luoping biota: exceptional preservation, and new evidence on the Triassic recovery from end-Permian mass extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 2274-2282

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