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Dinodontosaurus (Wikimedia Commons)


Dinodontosaurus (Greek for "terrible toothed lizard"); pronounced DIE-no-DON-toe-SORE-us


Woodlands of South America

Historical Period:

Middle Triassic (240-230 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 8 feet long and a few hundred pounds


Probably omnivorous

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Stocky build; tusks in upper jaw


About Dinodontosaurus:

The dicynodont ("two-dog-toothed) reptiles of the Permian period were relatively small, inoffensive creatures, but not so their Triassic descendants like Dinodontosaurus. This dicynodont therapsid ("mammal-like reptile") was one of the largest terrestrial animals of Triassic South America, and judging by the remains of ten juveniles found jumbled together, it boasted some fairly advanced parenting skills for its time. The "terrible tooth" part of this reptile's long name refers to its impressive tusks, which may or may not have been used to slash at live prey.

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