Mammal-like Reptile
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Mammal-like Reptile
Pelycosaur ( ) is an older term for basal or primitive Late Paleozoic synapsids, excluding the therapsids and their descendants. Previously, the term ''mammal-like reptile'' had been used, and pelycosaur was considered an order, but this is now thought to be incorrect, and seen as outdated. Because it excludes the advanced synapsid group Therapsida, the term is paraphyletic and contrary to modern formal naming practice. Thus the name ''pelycosaurs'', similar to the term ''mammal-like reptiles'', had fallen out of favor among scientists by the 21st century, and is only used informally, if at all, in the modern scientific literature. The terms stem mammals, protomammals, and basal or primitive synapsids are used where needed, instead. Etymology The term ''pelycosaur'' has been fairly well abandoned by paleontologists because it no longer matches the features that distinguish a clade. The modern word was created from Greek meaning 'wooden bowl' or 'axe' and meaning 'lizard' ...
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Dimetrodon
''Dimetrodon'' ( or ,) meaning "two measures of teeth,” is an extinct genus of non-mammalian synapsid that lived during the Cisuralian (Early Permian), around 295–272 million years ago (Mya). It is a member of the family Sphenacodontidae. The most prominent feature of ''Dimetrodon'' is the large neural spine sail on its back formed by elongated spines extending from the vertebrae. It walked on four legs and had a tall, curved skull with large teeth of different sizes set along the jaws. Most fossils have been found in the Southwestern United States, the majority coming from a geological deposit called the Red Beds of Texas and Oklahoma. More recently, its fossils have been found in Germany. Over a dozen species have been named since the genus was first erected in 1878. ''Dimetrodon'' is often mistaken for a dinosaur or as a contemporary of dinosaurs in popular culture, but it became extinct some 40 million years before the first appearance of dinosaurs. Rept ...
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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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Carboniferous
The Carboniferous ( ) is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic that spans 60 million years from the end of the Devonian Period million years ago ( Mya), to the beginning of the Permian Period, million years ago. The name ''Carboniferous'' means "coal-bearing", from the Latin '' carbō'' ("coal") and '' ferō'' ("bear, carry"), and refers to the many coal beds formed globally during that time. The first of the modern 'system' names, it was coined by geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips in 1822, based on a study of the British rock succession. The Carboniferous is often treated in North America as two geological periods, the earlier Mississippian and the later Pennsylvanian. Terrestrial animal life was well established by the Carboniferous Period. Tetrapods (four limbed vertebrates), which had originated from lobe-finned fish during the preceding Devonian, became pentadactylous in and diversified during the Carboniferous, including early amphibian lin ...
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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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Pelycosaurian Skulls
Pelycosaur ( ) is an older term for basal or primitive Late Paleozoic synapsids, excluding the therapsids and their descendants. Previously, the term ''mammal-like reptile'' had been used, and pelycosaur was considered an order, but this is now thought to be incorrect, and seen as outdated. Because it excludes the advanced synapsid group Therapsida, the term is paraphyletic and contrary to modern formal naming practice. Thus the name ''pelycosaurs'', similar to the term ''mammal-like reptiles'', had fallen out of favor among scientists by the 21st century, and is only used informally, if at all, in the modern scientific literature. The terms stem mammals, protomammals, and basal or primitive synapsids are used where needed, instead. Etymology The term ''pelycosaur'' has been fairly well abandoned by paleontologists because it no longer matches the features that distinguish a clade. The modern word was created from Greek meaning 'wooden bowl' or 'axe' and meaning 'lizard' ...
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Caseasauria
Caseasauria is one of the two main clades of early synapsids, the other being the Eupelycosauria. Caseasaurs are currently known only from the Late Carboniferous and the Permian, and include two superficially different families, the small insectivorous or carnivorous Eothyrididae, and the large, herbivorous Caseidae. These two groups share a number of specialised features associated with the morphology of the snout and external naris. The ancestor of caseasaurs can be traced back to an insect eating or an omnivorous reptile-like synapsid from the Pennsylvanian time of the Carboniferous, possibly resembling '' Archaeothyris'', the earliest known synapsid. The caseasaurs were abundant during the later part of the Early Permian, but by the Middle Permian caseasaur diversity declined because the group was outcompeted by the more successful therapsids. The last caseasaurs became extinct at the end of the Guadelupian (Middle Permian). Description Among the most conspicuous char ...
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Monophyletic
In cladistics for a group of organisms, monophyly is the condition of being a clade—that is, a group of taxa composed only of a common ancestor (or more precisely an ancestral population) and all of its lineal descendants. Monophyletic groups are typically characterised by shared derived characteristics ( synapomorphies), which distinguish organisms in the clade from other organisms. An equivalent term is holophyly. The word "mono-phyly" means "one-tribe" in Greek. Monophyly is contrasted with paraphyly and polyphyly as shown in the second diagram. A ''paraphyletic group'' consists of all of the descendants of a common ancestor minus one or more monophyletic groups. A '' polyphyletic group'' is characterized by convergent features or habits of scientific interest (for example, night-active primates, fruit trees, aquatic insects). The features by which a polyphyletic group is differentiated from others are not inherited from a common ancestor. These definitions have ta ...
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Eupelycosauria
Eupelycosauria is a large clade of animals characterized by the unique shape of their skull, encompassing all mammals and their closest extinct relatives. They first appeared 308million years ago during the Early Pennsylvanian epoch, with the fossils of '' Echinerpeton'' and perhaps an even earlier genus, '' Protoclepsydrops'', representing just one of the many stages in the evolution of mammals,Kemp. T.S., 1982, ''Mammal-like Reptiles and the Origin of Mammals''. Academic Press, New York in contrast to their earlier amniote ancestors. Eupelycosaurs are synapsids, animals whose skull has a single opening behind the eye. They are distinguished from the Caseasaurian synapsids by having a long, narrow supratemporal bone (instead of one that is as wide as it is long) and a frontal bone with a wider connection to the upper margin of the orbit. Laurin, M. and Reisz, R. R., 1997Autapomorphies of the main clades of synapsids- Tree of Life Web Project The only living descendants of ...
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