Smaller than a Microraptor!

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Temporal range: Late Permian–Early Triassic
An artist's interpretation of Lystrosaurus
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Synapsida
Family: Lystrosauridae
Genus: Lystrosaurus
Cope, 1870
Species: Species
Referred species
  • Lystrosaurus murrayi
  • Lystrosaurus declivis
  • Lystrosaurus curvatus
  • Lystrosaurus maccaigi

Lystrosaurus (Greek meaning “shovel reptile”) was a herbivore dicynodont that lived in the Permian to Triassic.


Lystrosaurus is notable for dominating southern Pangaea for millions of years during the Early Triassic. At least one unidentified species of this genus survived the end-Permian mass extinction and, in the absence of predators and herbivorous competitors, went on to thrive and re-radiate into a number of species within the genus, becoming the most common group of terrestrial vertebrates during the Early Triassic; for a while, 95% of land vertebrates were Lystrosaurus. This is the only time that a single species or genus of land animal dominated the Earth to such a degree. A few other Permian therapsid genera also survived the mass extinction and appear in Triassic rocks—the therocephalians Tetracynodon, Moschorhinus and Ictidosuchoides—but do not appear to have been abundant in the Triassic; complete ecological recovery took 30 million years, spanning the Early and Middle Triassic

Death and Extinction[]


Rather than being eaten to extinction by predators like Cynodonts, Gorgonopsids, and Proterosuchus, The early Triassic Extinction finally killed this animal, along with its predators. However, before all that, it may have made up half of life on earth.

In popular culture[]

  • Lystrosaurus made an appearance in Walking with Monsters where a herd undergoes a migration and were attacked by chasmatosaurs.
  • They also appeared in an episode of the Animal Planet show, Animal Armageddon, where it describes how they were one of the few species who survived the Permian Mass Extinction, or the "Great Dying".
  • They also make an appearance in the video game ARK: Survival Evolved.
  • Recently, it has been confirmed to appear in Jurassic World: Dominion as the first dicynodont to appear in the franchise.
  • Recently, Lystrosaurus made an appearance in the new Netflix Original Documentary Series, Life On Our Planet.