Dicynodont

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Dicynodonts
Temporal range: Permian to Upper Triassic (?Lower Cretaceous)
Endothiodon, a Permian dicynodont
Conservation status
Fossil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Synapsida
Order: Therapsida
Suborder: Anomodontia
Infraorder: Dicynodontia
Owen, 1859
Dinodontosaurus, one of few genera of dicynodonts that survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event. It was 8 ft (2.4 m) long, one of the largest herbivores of its time.

The Dicynodontia are a group of therapsids. They were small to large herbivorous animals with two tusks, hence their name, which means 'two dog tooth'. They are also the most successful and diverse of the non-mammalian therapsids, with over 70 genera known.

All of them had the same basic body plan. They were built like small tanks, with sturdy legs at each corner. They were not fast movers, but were obviously strong and lived in groups rather as many herbivores do today.[1] Their body shape was similar to certain types of modern mammals such as pigs and rhinoceros.

Fossils discovered in Poland indicate that dicynodonts survived at least until the latest Upper Triassic.[2] Six fragments of fossil skull bone discovered in Australia (Queensland) may indicate that dicynodonts survived into the Cretaceous in southern Gondwana.[3]

The dicynodonts were a group of therapsids, but were not ancestors to the mammals. The group which evolved into mammals was the cynodonts.

References[change | edit source]

  1. This is suggested by the discovery of a fossil toilet area used by Dinodontosaurus. Morgan, James 2013. Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed. BBC Science & Environment. [1]
  2. Dzik, Jerzy; Sulej, Tomasz & Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz 2008. A dicynodont−theropod association in the latest Triassic of Poland. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 53 (4): 733–738. [2]
  3. Thulborn T. & Turner S. 2003. The last dicynodont: an Australian Cretaceous relict. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270, 985-993. [3]