|Named By:||Robert Broom in 1908|
|Time Period:||Middle Permian, 270-290 Ma|
|Location:||South Africa - Abrahamskraal Formation|
|Size:||About 50 centimetres long|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Synapsida | Eupelycosauria | Varanopidae | Mycterosaurinae ||
Heleosarus scholtzi is an extinct basal synapsid, known as pelycosaurs, in the Varanopidae family during the middle Permian. At first H. scholtzi was mistakenly classified as a diapsid. Members of this family were carnivorous and had dermal armor, and somewhat resembled monitor lizards. This family was the most geologically long lived, widespread, and diverse group of early amniotes. To date only two fossils have been found in the rocks of South Africa. One of these fossils is an aggregation of five individuals.
H. scholtzi was first described by Broom in 1907 who originally placed it as an early diapsid. It is named for his student, T.J.R Scholtz, and was originally called Galechirus scholtzi. Later work placed it as a Eosuchian in the family Younginidae and even proposed as an ancestor for Archosauria. More recent work has placed it where it is now as a Mycterosaurinae in the Varanopidae family. The closely related Elliotsmithia longiceps has been placed in a sister taxon to H. scholtzi.