|This article is for a speculative species; a creature that has not been assigned to a taxon by any official media or material. This article may be deleted in the future for the sake of parsimony.|
Moschops ("calf face") is an extinct genus of therapsid that lived in the Late Permian, around 255 million years ago. Therapsids were proto-mammals (non-mammal synapsids), which were the dominant land animals during the Permian. Five metres long, Moschops was the largest land animal of its time, a herbivore preyed on by other therapsids. Its remains were found in the Karoo region of South Africa. It was the largest land animal at the time, with a body length of around 5 metres (16 ft). It was a heavily-built herbivore with short, chisel-like teeth for cropping vegetation. The forelimbs sprawled outwards, like those of a modern lizard, but the hind limbs were more mammalian in form, being placed directly under the body. While Moschops wasn't fully endothermic like modern mammals, it had already evolved heavily vascularized mammalian bones, making it at least mesothermic. This would have allowed it to regulate it's own internal body temperature more efficiently and better cope with the cooler climate of Karoo at the time. The diet of Moschops consisted of mostly plants.
It had a thickened skull and it has been proposed that the animals competed with each other by head-butting; mountain sheep use a similar method. Not only that, but the cranial osteology of Moschops and other close relatives indicates that heavily keratinized skin was present around the eyes and the top of its skull, providing further protection during direct head-to-head collisions with other members of its species. A short, but heavy tail may have counterbalanced its large head if the thick skull was a natural occurrence. It was probably the main source of food for predatory therapsids such as Anteosaurus. Like other therapsids, Moschops likely lacked scales, instead having a smooth, mammal-like skin that may have been at least partially covered in hair.