Pareiasaurs turn turtle?

Deltavjatia vjatkensis, from the upper Permian of Russia

Pareiasaurs, extinct reptiles from the Permian, were large bodied animals with a sprawling gait. Their heads bore coarse sculpting on the bones, sometimes with horns or flanges and their bodies were often armoured with interlocking ossicles.

Deltavjatia is a medium-sized form, which retains a number of characters thought to be primitive for the group.

It was probably a fully terrestrial form and its teeth and large rib cage suggest a herbivorous diet, as in other pareiasaurs.

Most palaeontologists think that pareiasaurs either gave rise to turtles directly, or belong to a group very closely related to them.

Last updated: 18 April 2009