Name Meaning: Heart Head
Location Found: Texas
Estimated Range: Texas-Oklahoma area
Size: Small (less than 30 cm long)
Time Period: Early Permian
Extinction: Early Permian
This is a small jaw fragment from a small lepospondyl reptile. Several teeth are still in place, though the fragment has broken into two pieces. Microscopically, the teeth are somewhat bladelike in appearance, a trait that shows up again in later predatory reptiles such as dinosaurs. Cardiocephalus strongly resembled the other members of the microsaur group, with a short tail and elongated body, with very short legs. The size and structure of the legs would have made movement on land difficult at best. As such, Cardiocephalus probably spent its whole life in or very near bodies of water.
Microsaurs have been found in multiple areas, though it is interesting that they seem to have been restricted to the modern Northern Hemisphere. Possibly climate was the reason for this seeming restriction, as the continents were still mostly joined at this point in Earth’s history. The microsaur group as a whole is thought to have goon extinct in the early Permian era. However, there have recently been possible microsaur remains unearthed in Russia that date to the late Permian, about 20 million years later. If these remains do turn out to me microsaurian in nature, then it would extend this group’s temporal range considerably. It would also mean they as a group were one of the many victims of the Permian-Triassic extinction, which wiped out a majority of life on Earth.
Life Reconstruction: http://spinops.blogspot.com/2012/01/cardiocephalus-sternbergi.html