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Biarmosuchus (Wikimedia Commons)


Biarmosuchus (Greek for "Biarmia crocodile"); pronounced bee-ARM-oh-SOO-cuss


Woodlands of central Asia

Historical Period:

Late Permian (255 million year ago)

Size and Weight:

About 4 feet long and 50 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large head; slender legs


About Biarmosuchus:

An otherwise unremarkable therapsid--the family of "mammal-like reptiles" that preceded the dinosaurs and spawned the earliest mammals--Biarmosuchus is notable for being (as far as paleontologists can tell) a relatively primitive example of the breed, dating all the way back to the late Permian period. This dog-sized reptile had slender legs, a large head, and sharp canines and incisors that indicate a carnivorous lifestyle; as with all therapsids, it's possible that Biarmosuchus was also blessed with a warm-blooded metabolism and a doglike coat of fur, though we may never know for sure.


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