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Temporal range: Middle Triassic
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Sauropterygia
Order: Placodontia
Family: Cyamodontidae
Genus: Cyamodus
Meyer, 1863
  • C. rostratus (Münster, 1839[verification needed]) (type)
  • C. hildegardis Peyer, 1931a
  • C. kuhnschneyderi Nosotti & Pinna 1993
  • C. munsteri (Agassiz, 1833-45)
  • C. tarnowitzensis Gürich, 1884

Cyamodus was a placodont, known from fossil remains discovered in Germany, in the early-to-mid-19th century and was named by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer, in 1863. The fossils have been dated to the Triassic Period, from the Anisian to Ladinian stages.

C. rostratus skull
Underside of a C. hildegardis skull

Cyamodus was a heavily armored swimmer, 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) long, that fed mainly on shellfish that it was specialized to uproot and crush with its powerful jaws. The body of Cyamodus, specifically the armor, has been described as possessing a turtle-like flatness. The shell was a two-part carapace on the upper surface of the body. The larger half covered Cyamodus from the neck to the hips and spread out flat, almost encompassing the limbs. The second, smaller plate covered the hips and the base of the tail. The shells themselves are covered in hexagonal or circular plates of armor. The skull is heart-shaped and broad.

Thus far, five species of Cyamodus have been identified - C. rostratus, C. munsteri, C. tarnowitzensis, C. hildegardis, and C. kuhnschneyderi.

Cyamodus is the type genus of the family Cyamodontidae.


Dixon, Dougal. "The Complete Book of Dinosaurs." Hermes House, 2006.