Dinopedia
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Lycaenops BW

Lycaenops is a carnivorous Therapsid from late Permian South Africa. It was about 3 feet (1 meter) long, the size of a medium-sized dog. It had a narrow skull and vaguely saber-like traits. Lycaenops was found in the Karoo; it was described by Robert Broom in 1925, and later re-desribed more fully by E.H. Colbert in 1948.

Description[]

Lycaenops measured about 1 m (3 ft) and weighed up to 15 kg (33 lb). Like the modern-day wolves from which it takes its name, Lycaenops had a long and slender skull, with a set of dog-like fangs set into both its upper and lower jaws. These pointed canine teeth were ideal for the use of stabbing and/or tearing at the flesh of any large prey that it came upon. Lycaenops most likely hunted small vertebrates such as reptiles and dicynodonts.

Lycaenops walked and ran with its long legs held close to its body. This is a feature found in mammals, but not in more primitive amniotes, early reptiles, and synapsids such as pelycosaurs, whose legs are positioned to the sides of their bodies. The ability to move like a mammal would have given Lycaenops an advantage over other land vertebrates, since it would have been able to outrun them.

Species[]

The type species Lycaenops ornatus was named by South African paleontologist Robert Broom in 1925. Several other species have also been referred to the genus, including L. angusticeps, which was originally named Scymnognathus angusticeps, L. kingwilli, which was originally named Tigricephalus kingwilli and is now placed in the genus Aelurognathus, and L. tenuirostris, which was originally named Tangagorgon tenuirostris and is now in the genus Cyonosaurus. Two additional species, L. microdon and L. sollasi, were added to Lycaenops after having been classified as species of Aelurognathus. The species L. minor is now considered a synonym of L. sollasi.

Classification[]

Gorgonopsia

Aloposaurus
Cyonosaurus
Aelurosaurus
Gorgonopsidae
Scylacognathus
Eoarctops
Gorgonops
Njalila
Lycaenops
Arctognathus
Inostrancevia
Rubidgeinae
Aelurognathus
Rubidgea
Sycosaurus
Clelandina

In popular culture[]

  • It appears in the tv series Primeval: New World, though its size is questionable.

Gallery[]

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