• South Africa, Cistecephalus - Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group

Scylacops is a genus of carnivorous Theriodontia, a group of so-called " mammal-like reptiles " ( Therapsida ). The species of the genus lived during the Upper Permian in South Africa so before about 260-251 million years before present. The type species was described by a skull almost completely preserved, which was found in 1913 near the South African town of Beaufort West in the Karoo.


Scylacops had incisors with a length of 23 millimeters and saber -shaped canines. The skull was 19 inches long and almost 13 inches wide. The head was very flat and similar to that of Gorgonops. The ears were sitting far back on the head. The tail was short in proportion to the body. The legs of Scylacops stood directly under the body. This enabled him to run fast and thus he was other reptiles of its time considering how the Dicynodontiern. Scylacops could reach a length of two meters. It can not be stated whether he already had a coat like the later mammals or a smooth skin and still had dandruff.


The first skull of Scylacops was found in 1913 by Sidney Henry Haughton and described by the practicing physician in South Africa and paleontologist Robert Broom. Broom immediately fell on the similarity to Gorgonops and described by Harry Govier Seeley Gorgonopsia. After he had previously formed with Cyniscops, Cyniscopoides and Sycocephalus own family who Scylacopidae, Scylacops 1988 by Robert Lynn Carroll was asked to Gorgonopsidae. These form a subset of the Gorgonopsia, which also includes Inostrancevia and Gorgonops. They all belong to the mammal-like reptiles ( Therapsida ), which in their time were the dominant creatures on the land. There are so far two types of Scylacops known:

  • Scylacops capensis Broom, 1913
  • Scylacops bigendens ( Brink & Kitching, 1953), first described as Sycocephalus bigendens Brink & Kitching, 1953

Scylacops was relatively closely related because of the similar anatomy with Sauroctonus and is placed in the subfamily Gorgonopsinae with this.