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Temporal range: Late Permian–Early Cretaceous
Descendant group Mammalia
survives to the present
Cynognathus crateronotus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Therapsida
Suborder: Cynodontia
Owen, 1861

General Facts

Cynodonts were small mammal-like reptiles (also known as primitive synapsids, or 'proto-mammals') that lived in the middle to late Triassic period. Fossils have been found in northern Europe and eastern North America. Cynodonts grew from 1 to 1.5 metres in length and were omnivorous animals, eating roots, insects, eggs, and possibly even small or infant dinosaurs, such as podokesaurus. cynodont means 'dog tooth'. Their weight was approximately 20 kilograms.

In popular culture

in Walking with Dinosaurs episode one: New Blood, the cynodonts are portrayed as nocturnal animals that pair for life and their offspring suckle from their mother's teats. One of these offspring wanders to far from the heart of the burrow, and is swiftly eaten by a coelophysis.

245px-Cynognathus BW

A depiction of a cynodont. Due to the lack of discovered bones, its accuracy is unknown.