Temporal Range: Middle Triassic (241.1-235 Mya)
Length: 1.5 metres
– Discovery: A complete, disarticulated skeleton of Paraplacodus was discovered in Northern Italy and the species was subsequently named in 1931 by Bernard Peyer. The skeleton has not been worked on since 1942.
– Description: Paraplacodus belongs to the unarmoured group of placodonts, the placodontiods. Measuring 1.5 metres in length, it was medium sized and built like an oversized modern day newt. Its most distinctive feature were its teeth. It had three lengthened, forward-pointing teeth in each premaxilla and two corresponding elongated teeth in each dentary. These were then complimented by a number of rounded crushing teeth. These jaws were ideally designed for crushing shellfish and other marine crustaceans.
Paraplacodus had thick ribs and each vertebrae included a long transverse process, creating an almost box-shaped torso. This square cross-section allowed Paraplacodus to remain close to the seabed whilst hunting for food. In addition, the forelimbs were notably short, yet fairly robust, and the hand was fairly small.