Gorgonopsians (the name means "Gorgon face", after the Gorgons of Greek
mythology) were a group of
that lived during
the middle and late Permian period, between maybe 260 and 248 million years
ago. Towards the end of the Permian period, Gorgonopsians became the dominant
the dominant land predators.
Gorgonopsians began as quite small creatures, about the size of a dog.
However, some of the later species that evolved such as Inostrancevia,
were about as large as a bear, and had
5 inch (12 centimeter) long saber-teeth.
It is not known if Gorgonopsians had fur, scales or just skin. It is however
known that they did have a number of mammal-like features, including
the anatomy of their skulls and ear bones, upright rear legs, and
heterodont teeth (a mix of different teeth types).
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