Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class  ???
Order Therapsida
Suborder Cynodontia
Family Cynognathidae
Genus Cynognathus
1st Species Cynognathus crateronotus
Other attributes
Time Range 247-237 mya
Location South Africa, Argentina, Antartica
Name Meaning Dog jaw
Physical Dimensions 1.2 meters long
Dietary Classification Carnivore
Cynognathus is a cynognathid therapsid synapsid from the Middle-Late Triassic of South Africa, Argentina, and Antarctica. It was named in 1895 by Harry Govier Seeley. It was one of the most successful cynodonts, as it achieved a wide distribution within the Southern Hemisphere.


Cynognathus was a cynodont with 4 semi-erect legs, a slender body, and a big head. Like all other cynodonts, its legs were more erect than those of the other therapsids. Its body would have been covered in fur.


Cynognathus was a predator, preying on small reptiles, small anomodonts, and smaller cynodonts. Its teeth were large and sharp, and were designed for piercing the hides of large prey.


One interesting thing about Cynognathus is that its hind legs were erect, much like a mammal, while its forelegs assumed a sprawling gait, much like a reptile; this would have probably made it run in a unique fashion, but would have still allowed it to catch up to its prey. As well as this, it had large, robust, muscle-bound jaws capable of inflicting a powerful bite, as well as large canines that would allow it to tear through the hides of prey; in addition to this, it had 3 different types of teeth, which allowed it to effectively chew its food before swallowing it. Along with this, its body ribs did not extend into its abdomen; this freed up space for a diaphragm that allowed it to breathe efficiently, and it also allowed for more body flexibility. Finally, the presence of small pits on Cynognathus' snout indicates that concentrations of nerves and blood vessels were present near its nose; although this would suggest that Cynognathus had whiskers, the fact that lizards also have small pits on their skulls, yet do not have whiskers, invalidates this suggestion.

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