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Cynodonts
The cynodonts () (clade Cynodontia) are a clade of eutheriodont therapsids that first appeared in the Late Permian (approximately 260 mya), and extensively diversified after the Permian–Triassic extinction event. Cynodonts had a wide variety of lifestyles, including carnivory and herbivory. Mammals are cynodonts, as are their extinct ancestors and close relatives, having evolved from advanced probainognathian cynodonts during the Late Triassic. All other cynodont lines went extinct, with the last known non-mammalian cynodont group, the Tritylodontidae, having its youngest records in the Early Cretaceous. Description Early cynodonts have many of the skeletal characteristics of mammals. The teeth were fully differentiated and the braincase bulged at the back of the head. Outside of some crown-group mammals (notably the therians), all cynodonts probably laid eggs. The temporal fenestrae were much larger than those of their ancestors, and the widening of the zygomatic arch i ...
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Brasilitherium Riograndensis
''Brasilodon'' ("tooth from Brazil") is an extinct genus of small, mammal-like cynodonts that lived in what is now Brazil during the Norian age of the Late Triassic epoch, about 225.42 million years ago. While no complete skeletons have been found, the length of ''Brasilodon'' has been estimated at around . Its dentition shows that it was most likely an insectivore. The genus is monotypic, containing only the species ''B. quadrangularis''. ''Brasilodon'' belongs to the family Brasilodontidae, whose members were some of the closest relatives of mammals, the only cynodonts alive today. Two other brasilodontid genera, ''Brasilitherium'' and ''Minicynodon'', are now considered to be junior synonyms of ''Brasilodon''. Discovery and naming The first three specimens referred to ''Brasilodon quadrangularis'' were found at the Linha São Luiz site, a quarry near the town of Faxinal do Soturno in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The rocks where ''Brasilodon'' was found belong to the ...
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Therapsid
Therapsida is a major group of eupelycosaurian synapsids that includes mammals, their ancestors and relatives. Many of the traits today seen as unique to mammals had their origin within early therapsids, including limbs that were oriented more underneath the body, as opposed to the sprawling posture of many reptiles and salamanders. Therapsids evolved from " pelycosaurs", specifically within the Sphenacodontia, more than 279.5 million years ago. They replaced the "pelycosaurs" as the dominant large land animals in the Middle Permian through to the Early Triassic. In the aftermath of the Permian–Triassic extinction event, therapsids declined in relative importance to the rapidly diversifying reptiles during the Middle Triassic. The therapsids include the cynodonts, the group that gave rise to mammals (Mammaliaformes) in the Late Triassic, around 225 million years ago. Of the non-mammalian therapsids, only cynodonts survived beyond the end of the Triassic, with the only oth ...
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Therocephalians
Therocephalia is an extinct suborder of eutheriodont therapsids (mammals and their close relatives) from the Permian and Triassic. The therocephalians ("beast-heads") are named after their large skulls, which, along with the structure of their teeth, suggest that they were carnivores. Like other non-mammalian synapsids, therocephalians were once described as "mammal-like reptiles". Therocephalia is the group most closely related to the cynodonts, which gave rise to the mammals. This relationship takes evidence in a variety of skeletal features. The fossils of therocephalians are numerous in the Karoo of South Africa, but have also been found in Russia, China, Tanzania, Zambia, and Antarctica. Early therocephalian fossils discovered in Middle Permian deposits of South Africa support a Gondwanan origin for the group, which seems to have spread quickly across Earth. Although almost every therocephalian lineage ended during the great Permian–Triassic extinction event, a ...
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Epicynodontia
Epicynodontia is a clade of cynodont therapsids that includes most cynodonts, such as galesaurids, thrinaxodontids, and Eucynodontia (including mammals). It was erected as a stem-based taxon by Hopson and Kitching (2001) and defined as the most inclusive clade containing Mammalia and excluding ''Procynosuchus'', a Late Permian genus that is one of the most basal cynodonts. Below is a cladogram A cladogram (from Greek ''clados'' "branch" and ''gramma'' "character") is a diagram used in cladistics to show relations among organisms. A cladogram is not, however, an evolutionary tree because it does not show how ancestors are related to ... from Ruta, Botha-Brink, Mitchell and Benton (2013) showing one hypothesis of cynodont relationships: References Cynodonts Lopingian first appearances Extant Permian first appearances Tetrapod unranked clades Taxa named by James Hopson Taxa named by James Kitching {{Therapsid-stub ...
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Tritylodontidae
Tritylodontidae ("three-knob teeth", named after the shape of their cheek teeth) is an extinct family of small to medium-sized, highly specialized mammal-like cynodonts, bearing several mammalian traits like erect limbs, endothermy and details of the skeleton. They were the last-known family of the non-mammaliaform synapsids, persisting into the Early Cretaceous. Most tritylodontids are thought to have been herbivorous, feeding on vegetation, such as stems, leaves, and roots, although at least one may have had a more omnivorous diet. Tritylodontid fossils are found in the Americas, South Africa, and Eurasia—they appear to have had an almost global distribution, including Antarctica. Description The skull of tritylodontids had a high sagittal crest. They retained the primitive condition of the joint between the quadrate bone of the skull and the articular bone of the lower jaw—the retention of the joint is one of the reasons they are technically regarded to not be m ...
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Eutheriodont
Eutheriodontia is a clade of therapsids which appear during the Middle Permian and which includes therocephalians and cynodonts, this latter group including mammals and related forms. With the dicynodonts, they form one of two lineages of therapsids that survived the Permian extinction and which diversified again during the Triassic, before the majority of them disappeared before or during the Triassic–Jurassic extinction, except for a lineage of cynodonts that would later give rise to mammals. Classification The clade was named in 1986 by James Allen Hopson and Herbert Richard Barghusen, the name meaning the "true Theriodontia". Within Hopson's system, the Eutheriodontia are the sister group of the Gorgonopsia within the Theriodontia. A close relationship between therocephalians and cynodonts had been recognized for many years. In 2001 the Eutheriodontia were defined as the least inclusive clade including Mammalia and ''Bauria''.James A. Hopson and James W. Kitching, 2 ...
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Mammal
Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region of the brain), fur or hair, and three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles (including birds) from which they diverged in the Carboniferous, over 300 million years ago. Around 6,400 extant species of mammals have been described divided into 29 orders. The largest orders, in terms of number of species, are the rodents, bats, and Eulipotyphla ( hedgehogs, moles, shrews, and others). The next three are the Primates (including humans, apes, monkeys, and others), the Artiodactyla (cetaceans and even-toed ungulates), and the Carnivora ( cats, dogs, seals, and others). In terms of cladistics, which reflects evolutionary history, mammals are the only living members of the Synapsida (synapsids); this clade, toget ...
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Mammal
Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region of the brain), fur or hair, and three middle ear bones. These characteristics distinguish them from reptiles (including birds) from which they diverged in the Carboniferous, over 300 million years ago. Around 6,400 extant species of mammals have been described divided into 29 orders. The largest orders, in terms of number of species, are the rodents, bats, and Eulipotyphla ( hedgehogs, moles, shrews, and others). The next three are the Primates (including humans, apes, monkeys, and others), the Artiodactyla (cetaceans and even-toed ungulates), and the Carnivora ( cats, dogs, seals, and others). In terms of cladistics, which reflects evolutionary history, mammals are the only living members of the Synapsida (synapsids); this clade, toget ...
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Megazostrodon Rudnerae
''Megazostrodon'' is an extinct genus of basal mammaliaforms belonging to the order Morganucodonta. It is approximately 200 million years old.Fur and Fangs: Mammal Origins
. Palaeobiology and Biodiversity Research Group, University of Bristol.
Two species are known: ''M. rudnerae'' from the of and , and ''M. chenali'' from the



Trirachodon Berryi
''Trirachodon'' (Greek: "three ridge tooth") is an extinct genus of cynodonts. Fossils have been found in the ''Cynognathus'' Assemblage Zone of the Beaufort Group in South Africa and the Omingonde Formation of Namibia, dating back to the Early and Middle Triassic. Description The skull of ''Trirachodon'' had a short, narrow snout with a wide orbital region. The zygomatic arches were relatively slender. ''Trirachodon'' was quite small for a cynodont, growing no larger than 50 cm in length. It had noticeably less molariform teeth than its closely related contemporary ''Diademodon''. These teeth tended to be transversely broader than ''Diademodon'' as well. A bony secondary palate and precise postcanine tooth occlusion are seen as derived characteristics in ''Trirachodon'' that are similar to those of mammals. Species The type species is ''T. berryi'', named in 1895 on the basis of a single cranial skeleton. Three other specimens were later referred to ''T. kannemeyeri ...
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Dvinia Prima
''Dvinia'' is an extinct genus of cynodonts found in the Salarevo Formation of Sokolki on the Northern Dvina River near Kotlas in Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It is the only known member of the family Dviniidae. Its fossil remains date from the Late Permian and were found with '' Inostrancevia'', ''Scutosaurus'' and ''Vivaxosaurus''. ''Dvinia'' was a small omnivore possessing a large temporal opening typical of advanced therapsids, with a thin postorbital bar separating the eye from the muscle attachment. As a cynodont, it was closely related to mammals. The dentition consisted of a set of small incisors followed by 2 canines and 10-14 postcanines. See also * List of therapsids This list of therapsids is an attempt to create a comprehensive listing of all genera that have ever been included in the Therapsida excluding mammals and purely vernacular terms. The list includes all commonly accepted genera, but also genera tha ... References Further reading * Patricia ...
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Probainognathia
Probainognathia is one of the two major subgroups of the clade Eucynodontia, the other being Cynognathia. The earliest forms were carnivorous and insectivorous, though some groups eventually also evolved herbivorous diets. The earliest and most basal probainognathian is the Middle Triassic (Anisian) aged '' Lumkuia'', from South Africa, though probainognathians would not become prominent until the mid Norian stage of the Late Triassic. Three groups survived the extinction at the end of Triassic: Tritheledontidae and Tritylodontidae, which both survived until the Jurassic—the latter even into the Cretaceous ('' Montirictus'' and ''Xenocretosuchus'')—and Mammaliaformes, which includes the mammals. Phylogeny Below is a cladogram from Ruta, Botha-Brink, Mitchell and Benton (2013) showing one hypothesis of cynodont relationships: See also * Evolution of mammals The evolution of mammals has passed through many stages since the first appearance of their synapsid ance ...
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