|Named By:||Richard Owen in 1876|
|Time Period:||Guadalupian epoch, Capitanian stage|
|Location:||South Africa, Karoo - Lower Beaufort Beds|
|Size:||About 3 meters long, maybe slightly larger|
|Fossil(s):||Numerous skulls and post cranial remains from many individuals|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Synapsida | Therapsida | Dinocephalia | Tapinocephalidae ||
|Also known as:||| Phocosaurus | Tapinocephalus atherstonii | Taurops ||
Tapinocephalus ("humble head") is a genus of large herbivorous dinocephalian that lived during the Middle Permian Period. These stocky, barrel-bodied animals were characterised by a massive bony skull roof and short weak snout. It is thought that, like the rest of the members of its family, the animals engaged in head-butting intraspecific behavior, possibly for territory or mates.
The fossil remains (skull and postcranial elements) of Tapinocephalus are known from the Lower, Middle, and Upper part of the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone ( Capitanian age) of the Lower Beaufort Beds of the South African Karoo. Only the type species, T. atherstonei is now considered valid for this genus.
In life, these animals were over 3 metres (10 ft) in length and massed around 1.5 to 2 tonnes (3,300 to 4,400 lb), making them among the largest animals of their time.