Varanops is an extinct genus of Early Permian varanopid synapsids known from Texas and Oklahoma of the United States. It was first named by Samuel Wendell Williston in 1911 as a second species of Varanosaurus, Varanosaurus brevirostris. In 1914, Samuel W. Williston reassigned it to its own genus and the type species is Varanops brevirostris. V. brevirostris is known from the holotype FMNH UC 644, a three-dimensionally preserved nearly complete and articulated skeleton including a nearly complete skull and mandibles. It was collected in the Indian Creek, 35 site, from the Arroyo Formation of the Clear Fork Group, Baylor County of Texas, dating to the early Kungurian stage of the Cisuralian Epoch, about 279.5-272.5 million years ago. Many well preserved specimens from the same locality and horizon of the type specimen, including FMNH UR 2423, nearly complete skull and mandibles, MCZ 1926, complete skull and mandibles and FMNH P 12841, partial skeleton, are referred to V. brevirostris. One articulated skeleton with bite marks was found in southwest of Taylor County of Texas.
Specimens of V. brevirostris were collected in the Richards Spur, from the Garber Formation of the Sumner Group, Comanche County of Oklahoma, dating to the same age. Those remains came from at least three individuals, represents the first varanodontine material from the Richards Spur. TMM 43628-1, a partial skeleton with nearly complete skull, was collected in the Mud Hill locality, from the Vale Formation of the Clear Fork Group, Taylor County dating to the same age. Varanops was a large pelycosaur, around the size of the modern monitor lizards, it was about 1.2 m long, had large limbs and sharp, backward-curving teeth. It was one of voracious predators among pelycosaurs. Though it was large for its time, Varanops was small compared to the dinosaurs. Varanops is the type genus of the family Varanopidae. Cladistic analysis performed by Nicolás E. Campione and Robert R. Reisz in 2010 suggests that Varanops is a derived varanodontine, sister taxon to the clade formed by Varanodon and Watongia
Dimetrodon is an extinct genus of synapsids that lived during the Cisuralian, around 295–272 million years ago. 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 fossils have been found in Germany. Over a dozen species have been named since the genus was first described in 1878. Dimetrodon is 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. Reptile-like in appearance and physiology, Dimetrodon is more related to mammals than to modern reptiles, though it is not a direct ancestor of mammals.
Dimetrodon is assigned to the "non-mammalian synapsids", a group traditionally called "mammal-like reptiles". This groups Dimetrodon together with mammals in a clade called Synapsida, while placing dinosaurs and birds in a separate clade, Sauropsida. Single openings in the skull behind each eye, known as temporal fenestrae, other skull features distinguish Dimetrodon and mammals from most of the earliest sauropsids. Dimetrodon was one of the apex predators of the Cisuralian ecosystems, feeding on fish and tetrapods, including reptiles and amphibians. Smaller Dimetrodon species may have had different ecological roles; the sail of Dimetrodon may have been used to stabilize its spine or to heat and cool its body as a form of thermoregulation. Some recent studies argue that the sail would have been ineffective at removing heat from the body due to large species being discovered with small sails and small species being discovered with large sails ruling out heat regulation as its main purpose; the sail was most used in courtship display with methods such as threatening rivals or showing off to potential mates.
Dimetrodon was a sail-backed synapsid. Most Dimetrodon species ranged in length from 1.7 to 4.6 metres and are estimated to have weighed between 28 and 250 kilograms. The largest known species of Dimetrodon is D. angelensis at 4.6 metres and the smallest is D. teutonis at 60 centimetres. The larger species of Dimetrodon were among the largest predators of the Early Permian, although the related Tappenosaurus, known from skeletal fragments in younger rocks, may have been larger at an estimated 5.5 metres in total body length. Although some Dimetrodon species could grow large, many juvenile specimens are known. A single large opening on either side of the back of the skull links Dimetrodon with mammals and distinguishes it from most of the earliest sauropsids, which either lack openings or have two openings. Features such as ridges on the inside of the nasal cavity and a ridge at the back of the lower jaw are thought to be part of an evolutionary progression from early tetrapods to mammals; the skull of Dimetrodon is compressed laterally, or side-to-side.
The eye sockets are positioned far back in the skull. Behind each eye socket is a single hole called an infratemporal fenestra. An additional hole in the skull, the supratemporal fenestra, can be seen; the back of the skull is oriented at a slight upward angle, a feature that it shares with all other early synapsids. The upper margin of the skull slopes downward in a convex arc to the tip of the snout; the tip of the upper jaw, formed by the premaxilla bone, is raised above the part of the jaw formed by the maxilla bone to form a maxillary "step." Within this step is a diastema, or gap in the tooth row. Its skull was more built than a dinosaur's; the size of the teeth varies along the length of the jaws, lending Dimetrodon its name, which means "two measures of tooth" in reference to sets of small and large teeth. One or two pairs of caniniforms extend from the maxilla. Large incisor teeth are present at the tips of the upper and lower jaws, rooted in the premaxillae and dentary bones. Small teeth are present around the maxillary "step" and behind the caniniforms, becoming smaller further back in the jaw.
Many teeth are widest at their midsections and narrow closer to the jaws, giving them the appearance of a teardrop. Teardrop-shaped teeth are unique to Dimetrodon and other related sphenacodontids, help distinguish them from other early synapsids; as in many other early synapsids, the teeth of most Dimetrodon species are serrated at their edges. The serrations of Dimetrodon teeth were so fine; the dinosaur Albertosaurus had crack-like serrations, but, at the base of each serration was a round void, which would have functioned to distribute force over a larger surface area and prevent the stresses of feeding from causing the crack to spread through the tooth. Unlike Albertosaurus, Dimetrodon teeth lacked adaptations that would stop cracks from forming at their serrations; the teeth of D. teutonis lack serrations, but still have sharp edges. A study in 2014 shows; the smaller species, D. milleri, had no serrations. As prey grew larger, several Dimetrodon species started developing serrations on their teeth and increasing in size.
For instance, D. limbatus had enamel serrations that helped it cut through flesh (which were sim
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six periods of the Paleozoic Era. The Ordovician spans 41.2 million years from the end of the Cambrian Period 485.4 million years ago to the start of the Silurian Period 443.8 Mya. The Ordovician, named after the Celtic tribe of the Ordovices, was defined by Charles Lapworth in 1879 to resolve a dispute between followers of Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison, who were placing the same rock beds in northern Wales into the Cambrian and Silurian systems, respectively. Lapworth recognized that the fossil fauna in the disputed strata were different from those of either the Cambrian or the Silurian systems, placed them in a system of their own; the Ordovician received international approval in 1960, when it was adopted as an official period of the Paleozoic Era by the International Geological Congress. Life continued to flourish during the Ordovician as it did in the earlier Cambrian period, although the end of the period was marked by the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events.
Invertebrates, namely molluscs and arthropods, dominated the oceans. The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event increased the diversity of life. Fish, the world's first true vertebrates, continued to evolve, those with jaws may have first appeared late in the period. Life had yet to diversify on land. About 100 times as many meteorites struck the Earth per year during the Ordovician compared with today; the Ordovician Period began with a major extinction called the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, about 485.4 Mya. It lasted for about 42 million years and ended with the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events, about 443.8 Mya which wiped out 60% of marine genera. The dates given are recent radiometric dates and vary from those found in other sources; this second period of the Paleozoic era created abundant fossils that became major petroleum and gas reservoirs. The boundary chosen for the beginning of both the Ordovician Period and the Tremadocian stage is significant, it correlates well with the occurrence of widespread graptolite and trilobite species.
The base of the Tremadocian allows scientists to relate these species not only to each other, but to species that occur with them in other areas. This makes it easier to place many more species in time relative to the beginning of the Ordovician Period. A number of regional terms have been used to subdivide the Ordovician Period. In 2008, the ICS erected a formal international system of subdivisions. There exist Baltoscandic, Siberian, North American, Chinese Mediterranean and North-Gondwanan regional stratigraphic schemes; the Ordovician Period in Britain was traditionally broken into Early and Late epochs. The corresponding rocks of the Ordovician System are referred to as coming from the Lower, Middle, or Upper part of the column; the faunal stages from youngest to oldest are: Late Ordovician Hirnantian/Gamach Rawtheyan/Richmond Cautleyan/Richmond Pusgillian/Maysville/Richmond Middle Ordovician Trenton Onnian/Maysville/Eden Actonian/Eden Marshbrookian/Sherman Longvillian/Sherman Soudleyan/Kirkfield Harnagian/Rockland Costonian/Black River Chazy Llandeilo Whiterock Llanvirn Early Ordovician Cassinian Arenig/Jefferson/Castleman Tremadoc/Deming/Gaconadian The Tremadoc corresponds to the Tremadocian.
The Floian corresponds to the lower Arenig. The Llanvirn occupies the rest of the Darriwilian, terminates with it at the base of the Late Ordovician; the Sandbian represents the first half of the Caradoc. During the Ordovician, the southern continents were collected into Gondwana. Gondwana started the period in equatorial latitudes and, as the period progressed, drifted toward the South Pole. Early in the Ordovician, the continents of Laurentia and Baltica were still independent continents, but Baltica began to move towards Laurentia in the period, causing the Iapetus Ocean between them to shrink; the small continent Avalonia separated from Gondwana and began to move north towards Baltica and Laurentia, opening the Rheic Ocean between Gondwana and Avalonia. The Taconic orogeny, a major mountain-building episode, was well under way in Cambrian times. In the early and middle Ordovician, temperatures were mild, but at the beginning of the Late Ordovician, from 460 to 450 Ma, volcanoes along the margin of the Iapetus Ocean spewed massive amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, turning the planet into a hothouse.
Sea levels were high, but as Gondwana moved south, ice accumulated into glaciers and sea levels dropped. At first, low-lying sea beds increased diversity, but glaciation led to mass extinctions as the seas drained and continental shelves became dry land. During the Ordovician, in fact during the Tremadocian, marine transgressions worldwide were the greatest for which evidence is preserved; these volcanic island arcs collided with proto North America to form the Appalachian mountains. By the end of the Late Ordovician the volcanic emissions had stopped. Gondwana had by that time neared the South Pole and was glaciated
The Precambrian is the earliest part of Earth's history, set before the current Phanerozoic Eon. The Precambrian is so named because it preceded the Cambrian, the first period of the Phanerozoic eon, named after Cambria, the Latinised name for Wales, where rocks from this age were first studied; the Precambrian accounts for 88% of the Earth's geologic time. The Precambrian is an informal unit of geologic time, subdivided into three eons of the geologic time scale, it spans from the formation of Earth about 4.6 billion years ago to the beginning of the Cambrian Period, about 541 million years ago, when hard-shelled creatures first appeared in abundance. Little is known about the Precambrian, despite it making up seven-eighths of the Earth's history, what is known has been discovered from the 1960s onwards; the Precambrian fossil record is poorer than that of the succeeding Phanerozoic, fossils from the Precambrian are of limited biostratigraphic use. This is because many Precambrian rocks have been metamorphosed, obscuring their origins, while others have been destroyed by erosion, or remain buried beneath Phanerozoic strata.
It is thought that the Earth coalesced from material in orbit around the Sun at 4,543 Ma, may have been struck by a large planetesimal shortly after it formed, splitting off material that formed the Moon. A stable crust was in place by 4,433 Ma, since zircon crystals from Western Australia have been dated at 4,404 ± 8 Ma; the term "Precambrian" is recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy as the only "supereon" in geologic time. "Precambrian" is still used by geologists and paleontologists for general discussions not requiring the more specific eon names. As of 2010, the United States Geological Survey considers the term informal, lacking a stratigraphic rank. A specific date for the origin of life has not been determined. Carbon found in 3.8 billion-year-old rocks from islands off western Greenland may be of organic origin. Well-preserved microscopic fossils of bacteria older than 3.46 billion years have been found in Western Australia. Probable fossils 100 million years older have been found in the same area.
However, there is evidence. There is a solid record of bacterial life throughout the remainder of the Precambrian. Excluding a few contested reports of much older forms from North America and India, the first complex multicellular life forms seem to have appeared at 1500 Ma, in the Mesoproterozoic era of the Proterozoic eon. Fossil evidence from the Ediacaran period of such complex life comes from the Lantian formation, at least 580 million years ago. A diverse collection of soft-bodied forms is found in a variety of locations worldwide and date to between 635 and 542 Ma; these are referred to as Vendian biota. Hard-shelled creatures appeared toward the end of that time span, marking the beginning of the Phanerozoic eon. By the middle of the following Cambrian period, a diverse fauna is recorded in the Burgess Shale, including some which may represent stem groups of modern taxa; the increase in diversity of lifeforms during the early Cambrian is called the Cambrian explosion of life. While land seems to have been devoid of plants and animals and other microbes formed prokaryotic mats that covered terrestrial areas.
Tracks from an animal with leg like appendages have been found in what was mud 551 million years ago. Evidence of the details of plate motions and other tectonic activity in the Precambrian has been poorly preserved, it is believed that small proto-continents existed prior to 4280 Ma, that most of the Earth's landmasses collected into a single supercontinent around 1130 Ma. The supercontinent, known as Rodinia, broke up around 750 Ma. A number of glacial periods have been identified going as far back as the Huronian epoch 2400–2100 Ma. One of the best studied is the Sturtian-Varangian glaciation, around 850–635 Ma, which may have brought glacial conditions all the way to the equator, resulting in a "Snowball Earth"; the atmosphere of the early Earth is not well understood. Most geologists believe it was composed of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, other inert gases, was lacking in free oxygen. There is, evidence that an oxygen-rich atmosphere existed since the early Archean. At present, it is still believed that molecular oxygen was not a significant fraction of Earth's atmosphere until after photosynthetic life forms evolved and began to produce it in large quantities as a byproduct of their metabolism.
This radical shift from a chemically inert to an oxidizing atmosphere caused an ecological crisis, sometimes called the oxygen catastrophe. At first, oxygen would have combined with other elements in Earth's crust iron, removing it from the atmosphere. After the supply of oxidizable surfaces ran out, oxygen would have begun to accumulate in the atmosphere, the modern high-oxygen atmosphere would have developed. Evidence for this lies in older rocks that contain massive banded iron formations that were laid down as iron oxides. A terminology has evolved covering the early years of the Earth's existence, as radiometric dating has allowed real dates to be assigned to specific formations and features; the Precambrian is divided into
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
The Cambrian Period was the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cambrian lasted 55.6 million years from the end of the preceding Ediacaran Period 541 million years ago to the beginning of the Ordovician Period 485.4 mya. Its subdivisions, its base, are somewhat in flux; the period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name of Wales, where Britain's Cambrian rocks are best exposed. The Cambrian is unique in its unusually high proportion of lagerstätte sedimentary deposits, sites of exceptional preservation where "soft" parts of organisms are preserved as well as their more resistant shells; as a result, our understanding of the Cambrian biology surpasses that of some periods. The Cambrian marked a profound change in life on Earth. Complex, multicellular organisms became more common in the millions of years preceding the Cambrian, but it was not until this period that mineralized—hence fossilized—organisms became common; the rapid diversification of life forms in the Cambrian, known as the Cambrian explosion, produced the first representatives of all modern animal phyla.
Phylogenetic analysis has supported the view that during the Cambrian radiation, metazoa evolved monophyletically from a single common ancestor: flagellated colonial protists similar to modern choanoflagellates. Although diverse life forms prospered in the oceans, the land is thought to have been comparatively barren—with nothing more complex than a microbial soil crust and a few molluscs that emerged to browse on the microbial biofilm. Most of the continents were dry and rocky due to a lack of vegetation. Shallow seas flanked the margins of several continents created during the breakup of the supercontinent Pannotia; the seas were warm, polar ice was absent for much of the period. Despite the long recognition of its distinction from younger Ordovician rocks and older Precambrian rocks, it was not until 1994 that the Cambrian system/period was internationally ratified; the base of the Cambrian lies atop a complex assemblage of trace fossils known as the Treptichnus pedum assemblage. The use of Treptichnus pedum, a reference ichnofossil to mark the lower boundary of the Cambrian, is difficult since the occurrence of similar trace fossils belonging to the Treptichnids group are found well below the T. pedum in Namibia and Newfoundland, in the western USA.
The stratigraphic range of T. pedum overlaps the range of the Ediacaran fossils in Namibia, in Spain. The Cambrian Period was followed by the Ordovician Period; the Cambrian is divided into ten ages. Only three series and six stages are named and have a GSSP; because the international stratigraphic subdivision is not yet complete, many local subdivisions are still used. In some of these subdivisions the Cambrian is divided into three series with locally differing names – the Early Cambrian, Middle Cambrian and Furongian. Rocks of these epochs are referred to as belonging to Upper Cambrian. Trilobite zones allow biostratigraphic correlation in the Cambrian; each of the local series is divided into several stages. The Cambrian is divided into several regional faunal stages of which the Russian-Kazakhian system is most used in international parlance: *Most Russian paleontologists define the lower boundary of the Cambrian at the base of the Tommotian Stage, characterized by diversification and global distribution of organisms with mineral skeletons and the appearance of the first Archaeocyath bioherms.
The International Commission on Stratigraphy list the Cambrian period as beginning at 541 million years ago and ending at 485.4 million years ago. The lower boundary of the Cambrian was held to represent the first appearance of complex life, represented by trilobites; the recognition of small shelly fossils before the first trilobites, Ediacara biota earlier, led to calls for a more defined base to the Cambrian period. After decades of careful consideration, a continuous sedimentary sequence at Fortune Head, Newfoundland was settled upon as a formal base of the Cambrian period, to be correlated worldwide by the earliest appearance of Treptichnus pedum. Discovery of this fossil a few metres below the GSSP led to the refinement of this statement, it is the T. pedum ichnofossil assemblage, now formally used to correlate the base of the Cambrian. This formal designation allowed radiometric dates to be obtained from samples across the globe that corresponded to the base of the Cambrian. Early dates of 570 million years ago gained favour, though the methods used to obtain this number are now considered to be unsuitable and inaccurate.
A more precise date using modern radiometric dating yield a date of 541 ± 0.3 million years ago. The ash horizon in Oman from which this date was recovered corresponds to a marked fall in the abundance of carbon-13 that correlates to equivalent excursions elsewhere in the world, to the disappearance of distinctive Ediacaran fossils. There are arguments that the dated horizon in Oman does not correspond to the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary, but represents a facies change from marine to evaporite-dominated strata — which w
Therapsida is a group of synapsids that includes mammals and their ancestors. Many of the traits today seen as unique to mammals had their origin within early therapsids, including having their four limbs extend vertically beneath the body, as opposed to the sprawling posture of reptiles; the earliest fossil attributed to Therapsida is Tetraceratops insignis from the Lower Permian. Therapsids evolved from "pelycosaurs" within the Sphenacodontia, more than 275 million years ago, they replaced the "pelycosaurs" as the dominant large land animals in the Middle Permian and were replaced, in turn, by the archosauromorphs in the Triassic, although one group of therapsids, the kannemeyeriiforms, remained diverse in the Late Triassic. The therapsids included the cynodonts, the group that gave rise to mammals in the Late Triassic around 225 million years ago. Of the non-mammalian therapsids, only cynodonts survived the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event; the last of the non-mammalian therapsids, the tritylodontid cynodonts, became extinct in the Early Cretaceous 100 million years ago.
Compared to their pelycosaurian ancestors, early therapsids had similar skulls but different post-cranial morphology. Therapsid legs were positioned more vertically beneath their bodies than were the sprawling legs of reptiles and pelycosaurs. Compared to these groups, the feet were more symmetrical, with the first and last toes short and the middle toes long, an indication that the foot's axis was placed parallel to that of the animal, not sprawling out sideways; this orientation would have given a more mammal-like gait than the lizard-like gait of the pelycosaurs. Therapsids' temporal fenestrae were larger than those of the pelycosaurs; the jaws of some therapsids were more complex and powerful, the teeth were differentiated into frontal incisors for nipping, great lateral canines for puncturing and tearing, molars for shearing and chopping food. Several characteristics in therapsids have been noted as being consistent with the development of endothermy: the presence of turbinates, erect limbs vascularized bones and tail proportions conducive to the preservation of body heat, the absence of growth rings in bones.
Therefore, like modern mammals, non-mammalian therapsids were most warm-blooded. Recent studies on Permian coprolites showcase. Hair is by any means present in the docodont Castorocauda and several contemporary haramiyidans, whiskers are inferred from therocephalians and cynodonts. Therapsids evolved from a group of pelycosaurs called sphenacodonts. Therapsids became the dominant land animals in the Middle Permian. Therapsida consists of four major clades: the dinocephalians, the herbivorous anomodonts, the carnivorous biarmosuchians, the carnivorous theriodonts. After a brief burst of evolutionary diversity, the dinocephalians died out in the Middle Permian but the anomodont dicynodonts as well as the theriodont gorgonopsians and therocephalians flourished, being joined at the end of the Permian by the first of the cynodonts. Like all land animals, the therapsids were affected by the Permian–Triassic extinction event; the dicynodonts, now represented by a single family of large stocky herbivores, the Kannemeyeridae, the medium-sized cynodonts, flourished worldwide throughout the Early and Middle Triassic.
They disappear from the fossil record across much of Pangea at the end of the Carnian, although they continued for some time longer in the wet equatorial band and the south. Some exceptions were the still further derived eucynodonts. At least three groups of them survived, they all appeared in the Late Triassic period. The mammal-like family, survived into the Early Cretaceous. Another mammal-like family, are unknown than the Early Jurassic. Mammaliaformes was the third group, including similar animals. Many taxonomists refer to these animals as "mammals", though some limit the term to the mammalian crown group; the non-eucynodont cynodonts survived the Permian-Triassic extinction. By the Middle Triassic, only the eucynodonts remained; the therocephalians, relatives of the cynodonts, managed to survive the Permian-Triassic extinction and continued to diversify through the Early Triassic period. Approaching the end of the period, the therocephalians were in decline to eventual extinction outcompeted by the diversifying Saurian lineage of diapsids, equipped with sophisticated respiratory systems better suited to the hot and oxygen-poor world of the End-Triassic.
Dicynodonts were long thought to have become extinct near the end of the Triassic, but there is evidence that they survived into the Cretaceous. Their fossils have been found in Gondwana; this is an example of Lazarus taxon. Other animals that were common in the Triassic took refuge here, such as the temnospondyls. Mammals are the only living therapsids; the mammalian crown group, which evolved in the Early Jurassic period, radiated from a group of mammaliaforms that included the docodonts. The mammaliaforms themselves evolved from a lineage of the eucynodont suborder. Class Synapsida ORDER THERAPSIDA *? Family † Tetraceratopsidae Suborder † Biarmosuchia * Family † Biarmosuchidae Family † Eotitanosuchidae Eutherapsida Suborder † Dinocephalia Family † Estemmenosu