The Triassic Reptile With "Two Faces"

  • Published on:  12/22/2020
  • PBS Member Stations rely on viewers like you. To support your local station, go to
    ↓ More info below ↓
    Figuring out what this creature’s face actually looked like would take paleontologists years. But understanding this weird animal can help us shine a light on at least one way for ecosystems to bounce back from even the worst mass extinction.

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas ( for the many excellent Triassic reptile illustrations (both Atopodentatus and Henodus) featured in this episode!

    And thanks to Xiao-Chun Wu, Nick Fraser, and Shixue Hu for providing photos for this video!

    Finally, thanks to Joschua Knüppe ( (the thumbnail illustration!), Julio Lacerda (, Jaime Headden (, and Dmitry Bogdanov for their wonderful paleoart as well.

    Both Atopodentatus papers discussed in this video:
    Cheng, L., Chen, X., Shang, Q. et al. 2014. A new marine reptile from the Triassic of China, with a highly specialized feeding adaptation. Naturwissenschaften 101, 251–259 DO1: 10.1007/s00114-014-1148-4

    Chun, L., Rieppel, O., Long, C. & Fraser, N.C. 2016. The earliest herbivorous marine reptile and its remarkable jaw apparatus. Science Advances 2(5): e1501659 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501659

    And on the paper on the Luoping biota:
    Hu, S., Zhang, Q., Chen, Z.Q., Zhou, C., Lu, T. Xie, T., Wen, W., Huang, J. & Benton, M.J. 2010. The Luoping biota: exceptional preservation, and new evidence on the Triassic recovery from end-Permian mass extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 2274-2282

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:
    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:
    Simon read, Reco Lee, Sean C. Kennedy, Eric Roberto Rodriguez, Charles Copley, Hillary Ryde-Collins, Facts Dinosaurs, Frida, YaBoiSam36, Matthew Donnelly, Yu Mei, Colleen Troussel, Dan Ritter, faxo, Gary Walker, Amanda Straw, Stephanie Tan, Anthony Callaghan, Minyuan Li, Ben Cooper, Leonid, Robert Noah, Matt Parker, Heathe Kyle Yeakley, Jerrit Erickson, Jack Arbuckle, Anton Bryl, MissyElliottSmith, Zachary Spencer, Stefan Weber, Andrey, Ilya Murashov, Larry Wilson, Merri Snaidman, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, Laura Sanborn, PS, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Eric Vonk, Henrik Peteri, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Daisuke Goto, Gregory Kintz, Chandler Bass, Tsee Lee, Robert Hill

    If you'd like to support the channel, head over to and pledge for some cool rewards!

    Want to follow Eons elsewhere on the internet?
    Facebook -
    Twitter -
    Instagram -