In my first Dinosaur Profile article, I mentioned that I would consider taking requests for different dinosaurs to write about. Almost immediately, I got a request for Eryops. I’d never heard of Eryops but, after looking it up, I was immediately intrigued. You may have seen my Dimetrodon article a few days ago. Post fall, Eryops would have likely been one of Dimetrodon‘s favorite meals. However, Eryops was definitely an interesting creature in it’s own right.
As I mentioned above, according to evolutionary ideology, Eryops would have been a cohabitant of the Permian period, hunting similar areas and hunting each other at different stages of their lives. While evolutionists consider Dimetrodon the apex predator of the period, they consider Eryops to be right behind it. The evolutionist presumes that Eryops was actually an amphibian. This is based on it’s build, it’s affinity for water, and the fact that it’s ears appear designed for frequent contact with water. It is believed to be a predatory based on its curved teeth and small teeth in the roof of its mouth that are believed to have been used to hold prey.
The Creationist view of Eryops varies widely from the evolutionary one. The teeth, while sharp and curved, do not necessarily indicate a carnivorous lifestyle, at least immediately. Prior to man’s sin, there was no death. Romans 5:12 is very clear on that. Therefore God’s original design for Eryops would have been to eat plants. The curved teeth would have been most useful in ripping chunks out of fruit, particularly hardened fruits such as pineapples and coconuts. If it was as aqueous as evolutionists claim, then it also would have enjoyed young mangroves and palm trees. The teeth in the top of the mouth would have functioned to secure a large fruit such as a coconut in place, while the curved teeth ripped it apart. However, after the fall, Eryops’ teeth would have easily served the more deadly purpose evolutionists assign to them, capable of catching, holding, and tearing smaller reptiles, fish and amphibians.
While evolutionists classify Eryops as an amphibian, this is by no means assured. For example, amphibians are classified as only having one vertebrae in the neck. Eryops appears to have four or five. This is a distinctly reptilian trait. The skin, as revealed by a fossil that was discovered semi-mummified in 1941, was covered in circular knobs. While certainly not definitive, this seems more indicative of a reptile than an amphibian. It’s build is more reptilian than amphibian, resembling a stumpy crocodile rather than salamander. Like crocodiles, its gait would have been awkward and ungainly on land. In the water however, with the added buoyancy to support its 200 pound bulk, Eryops would have been a bit more nimble. One thing to note in favor of Eryops being an amphibian is that it had no method of chewing its food, instead swallowing it whole. However, crocodiles don’t chew their food either. While it did have longer back legs than front legs, this is not indicative as some reptiles have this feature as well. Despite extensive research, I was unable to find any evidence of larval stage Eryops being found anywhere. This is significant because amphibians have a larval stage, whereas reptiles do not. In short, I do not believe based on what I’ve been able to discover, that Eryops should be classified as an amphibian but rather a reptile.
In the pre-sin world, Eryops would have been a common sight in a swamp, munching on mangroves and waterlogged plants. After the fall of man, Eryops would have become less common, as it lost competitions for territory with the larger crocodiles. However, it would still have been a fearsome predator to anything smaller. The design of our Creator would have enabled it to function both as a predator, and as a grazer. It would have been equally happy in both roles.