Eryops can move smoothly over land to catch prey, or to find new sources of water when ponds dry out.

In the Permian, most of Earth’s landmasses were assembled in the supercontinent of Pangaea. It had begun to move away from the cold South Pole.

As the Earth warmed after a major ice age, the climate became drier. Seed plants, including relatives of modern conifers, spread widely.

New ecosystems with lots of plants allowed large, plant-eating animals to evolve—but only a few kinds at first. Sail-backed Dimetrodon and other meat eaters mostly ate other carnivores.

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  • Title: Temnospondyl amphibian (composite)
  • Location: Belle Plains Formation, Baylor Co., Texas
  • Physical Dimensions: L: 152 cm W: 64 cm H: 45 cm
  • Type: Fossil
  • Rights: This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws. http://www.si.edu/termsofuse
  • External Link: View this object record in the Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center
  • Weight: 35 kg
  • USNM Catalog Number(s): V6721, PAL299567, and others
  • Scientific Name: <i>Eryops megacephalus</i>
  • Photo Credit: John Steiner, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Historic Period: Lived 293–283.5 million years ago
  • Geologic Age: Paleozoic - Permian - Lower/Early
  • Field: Paleobiology
  • Date Collected: 1881-08-06