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Arctops willistoni

This is rather shadowy genus known from three skulls which might or might not belong to the same species, A. willistoni (?=A. watsoni) . Three additional  but rather dubious species were also assigned to the genus: ?A. ferox, ?A. kitchingi, ?A. minor. It is quite possible that Arctops represent the adult form of the genus Scylacognathus and would therefore be a synonym of the latter (Gebauer, 2007).


Arctops willistoni


Watson, 1914 

Meaning of the generic name

Bear face


Skull length: 30 cm ,Length: 2 m?


Holotype (BMNH 4099): badly preserved partial skull
Referred specimens: BPI 263 (Holotype of Arctops watsoni, a well preserved skull), BPI 395 (skull, A. cf watsoni)

Age and Distribution

Horizon: Cistecephalus assemblage zone, Beaufort group, Upper Permian (Wuchiapingian). The holotype BMNH 4099 is described from being from the Tapinocephalus zone, but this might be a mistake as its exact provenance is unknown.
Type locality:
Karoo basin, South Africa.


Synapsida Therapsida Gorgonopsia Gorgonopsidae

  Further Reading

  Watson, D. M. S., 1914. Notes on some Carnivorous Therapsids: Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1914, p. 1021-1033.

Brink, A. S., and Kitching, J. W., 1953. Studies on new specimens of Gorgonopsia: Palaeontographica africana, v. 1, p. 1-28.

Sigogneau, D., 1970. Revision Systematique des Gorgonopsiens Sud-Africains: Cahiers de Paleontologie, 414pp.

Gebauer E., 2007. Phylogeny and Evolution of the Gorgonopsia with a Special Reference to the Skull and Skeleton of GPIT/RE/7113, doctoral dissertation.


  Arctops watsoni Brink & Kitching, 1953

Life reconstruction of Arctops willistoni (© N. Tamura)