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Temporal range: Late Permian–Early Triassic
Procolophon BW.jpg
Procolophon pricei from the Early Triassic of South Africa
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Parareptilia
Order: Procolophonomorpha
Family: Procolophonidae
Subfamily: Procolophoninae
Genus: Procolophon
Type species
Procolophon trigoniceps
Owen, 1876
  • P. trigoniceps Owen, 1876 (type)

Procolophon was a genus of lizard-like procolophonid reptile that persisted through the Permian–Triassic extinction event, but became extinct in the Early Triassic.



Procolophon reached a length up to 30 cm. The skull was solid but some species did evolve a temporal fenestra in the skull independently of other reptiles. There was one backward facing cheek spike, but its function is debated; it may have been for muscle attachment. Eyes were large and may have had acute day or night vision. The teeth were peg-like and suitable for crushing of plant matter. The front of the skull was short and blunt with the nasal opening very close to the mouth.[1]

The vertebrae were robust with a rounded rib cage composed of many small weak ribs. Legs were short, thickly built with short phalanges; this suggests an animal that burrowed and did not run fast.


Procolophon trigoniceps is the only valid species of the genus. P. brasiliensis and P. pricei, both described from Brazil, are junior synonyms of P. trigoniceps, and P. laticeps is apparently the same species.[2][3]


P. trigoniceps has been found in South Africa, Antarctica and Brazil; in the Geopark of Paleorrota in the Sanga do Cabral Formation.


  1. ^ D.Lambert, D. Naish and E. Wyse 2001, "Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and prehistoric life", p. 76, Dorling Kindersley Limited, London. ISBN 0-7513-0955-9
  2. ^ J. C. Cisneros and C. L. Schultz. 2002. Procolophon brasiliensis n. sp., a new procolophonid reptile from the Lower Triassic of southern Brazil. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Monatshefte 2002(11):641-648.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ J. C. Cisneros. 2008. Taxonomic status of the reptile genus Procolophon from the Gondwanan Triassic. Palaeontologia Africana 43:7-17