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Temporal range: ?Late Carboniferous - Early Permian, 299–296.4 Ma
Restoration of H. garnettensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Sphenacodontia
Genus: Haptodus
Gaudry, 1886
  • H. baylei Gaudry, 1886 (type)
  • ?†H. garnettensis Currie, 1977
  • ?†H. grandis Paton, 1974

Haptodus is an extinct genus of basal sphenacodonts, a clade that includes therapsids and hence, mammals. It was at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) in length. It lived from Latest Carboniferous to Early Permian. It was a medium-sized predator, feeding on insects and small vertebrates. H. garnettensis is currently the basalmost sphenacodontian.[1]

Discovery and history[edit]

Restoration of H. garnettensis

Haptodus baylei, the type species of Haptodus, is known only from a single, badly preserved specimen hosted in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle of Paris. It was collected at Les Télots, near Autun of France, from a terrestrial horizon dating to the Asselian stage of the Cisuralian series, about 299-296.4 million years old.[1][2]

H. grandis is known only from Gz 1071, a partial left maxilla, which is hosted at the Warwick County Museum. It was collected at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, from the Kenilworth Sandstone Formation (Warwickshire Group), dating to the earliest Asselian stage of the Cisuralian series, about 299 million years old.[1][3]

H. garnettensis is the best known species of the genus. Its holotype is RM 14156, a partially articulated skeleton (cranial and postcranial) of immature individual. More than 16 well-preserved specimen of various ontological states were referred to this species. All specimens came from the Garnett Quarry, located in the Anderson County of Kansas. They were collected from the Rock Lake Member of the Stanton Formation (Lansing Group), dating to the late Kasimovian stage of the late Pennsylvanian series, about 305-303.9 million years old.[2]

The taxonomy of many pelycosaurs was revised in details by Alfred Sherwood Romer & Llewellyn Price (1940). They synonymized many genera, including Callibrachion (from Margenne near Autun, France), Datheosaurus (from Nowa Ruda of Poland), Palaeohatteria and Pantelosaurus (both from Germany), with Haptodus, but retained these taxa as distinct species. After describing H. garnettensis in 1977, Currie (1979) synonymized all European haptodontines, as well as Cutleria wilmarthi, with the type of the genus, H. baylei. Later, Laurin (1993 and 1994) considered Haptodontinae to represent a polyphyletic grade of basal sphenacodonts, and revalidated Cutleria, Palaeohatteria and Pantelosaurus, while Callibrachion was considered to be a nomen dubium and Datheosaurus was not examined. Laurin also suggested that the type species of the genus H. baylei might be a nomen dubium, too, meaning that the only well preserved species, H. garnettensis, would have to be reassigned to its own genus.[4] His revision has been accepted since.[1][5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d Jörg Fröbisch, Rainer R. Schoch, Johannes Müller, Thomas Schindler and Dieter Schweiss (2011). "A new basal sphenacodontid synapsid from the Late Carboniferous of the Saar-Nahe Basin, Germany" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 56 (1): 113–120. doi:10.4202/app.2010.0039. 
  2. ^ a b Michel Laurin (1993). "Anatomy and relationships of Haptodus garnettensis, a Pennsylvanian synapsid from Kansas". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 13 (2): 200–229. doi:10.1080/02724634.1993.10011501. 
  3. ^ R. L. Paton (1974). "Lower Permian Pelycosaurs from the English Midlands". Palaeontology. 17 (3): 541–552. 
  4. ^ Michel Laurin (1994). "Re-evaluation of Cutleria wilmarthi, an Early Permian synapsid from Colorado". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 14 (1): 134–138. doi:10.1080/02724634.1994.10011544. 
  5. ^ Benson, R.J. (2012). "Interrelationships of basal synapsids: cranial and postcranial morphological partitions suggest different topologies". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 10: 601–624. doi:10.1080/14772019.2011.631042. 
  6. ^ Spindler Frederik; Falconnet Jocelyn; Fröbisch Jörg (2015). "Callibrachion and Datheosaurus, two historical and previously mistaken basal caseasaurian synapsids from Europe". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61. doi:10.4202/app.00221.2015.