Eotitanosuchus olsoni -Tchudinov, 1960- skull
Therapsida: Eotheriodontia: Eotitanosuchidae
Locality: Ocher, Perm Region, eastern European Russia
Age: Late Permian, 255 million years ago
Meaning of name: "Ancient giant crocodile"
The dangerous enemies of the peaceful plant-eating eotheriodonts
were the predatory eotheriodonts of the genus Eotitanosuchus.
It was preserved in flood deposits containing many skeletons of estemmenosuchids.
The skull displayed in The Russian Dinosaur Exposition is of a juvenile animal.
An adult skull would likely reach about 1 metre in length.
This mammal-like reptile was quite primitive in that the temporal opening just behind
the eye socket in the skull was small. The temporal opening is the site for
the attachment (insertion) of the masses of muscle that closed the lower jaw.
In more advanced mammal-like reptiles, the temporal opening is larger, thus
allowing for a large suite of muscles, and thus a stronger.and more versatile bite.
These sabertoothed predators exceeded the modern tiger in size and could probably
swim well. Their long legs helped them to move quickly on the coastal bogs.
Estemmenosuchus and Eotitanosuchus have been found only in East Europe.
The more advanced therapsids, the dinocephalians, existed in the
southern megacontinent Gondwana at the same time.
In the middle Late Permian Gondwana and Laurasia became connected by
a land bridge as result of which the dinocephals had entered in the territory of
East Europe and replaced the eotheriodonts in corresponding niches.