One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of or relating to the diapsid reptile order Rhynchocephalia (infraclass Lepidosauromorpha), which comprises such superficially lizard-like forms as the modern tuataras (genus Sphenodon) and various Mesozoic fossil forms, known collectively as beak-heads.
A rhynchocephalian reptile; a beak-head.
Mid 19th century. From scientific Latin Rhynchocephalia, order name (A. Günther 1867, in Philos. Trans (Royal Soc.) 157 626; from rhyncho- + ancient Greek κεϕαλή head + scientific Latin -ia, after Rhynchocephalus, genus name) + -an.
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