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Diictodon
Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class  ???
Order Therapsida
Suborder Anomodontia
Family Pylaecephalidae
Genus Diictodon
1st Species Diictodon feliceps
2nd Species Diictodon galeops
3rd Species Diictodon grimbeeki
4th Species Diictodon ictidops
Other attributes
Time Range 259.8-254.1 mya
Location South Africa, China
Name Meaning Two weasel teeth
Physical Dimensions 45 centimeters long
Dietary Classification Herbivore

Diictodon is a pylaecephalid therapsid synapsid from the Lopingian of South Africa and China. It was named in 1876 by Richard Owen. It was the most common anomodont therapsid synapsid in South Africa, and led a unique lifestyle.

PhysiologyEdit

Diictodon was an anomodont with 4 legs, a regularly-shaped body, a short tail, and a big head with a small beak, and in some cases, two downwards-facing tusks. Its body would have been covered in smooth skin.

DietEdit

Diictodon was an herbivore, feeding mainly on sparse shrubs, but also snacking on plant tubers. Its beak was used for breaking off pieces of shrubs, as well as chewing into plant roots.

EcologyEdit

As an anomodont therapsid synapsid, Diictodon had a unique and interesting lifestyle. It was able to burrow, and typically dug spiral burrows about 1.5 meters deep, which could have served as an escape from the hot and arid desert environments of the Late Permian. Of course, they were also very social animals, as evidence suggests that multiple individuals dug burrows in close proximity to each other; however, those burrows did not connect to each other. As well as this, it was once believed that all Diictodon individuals had tusks; however, fossil finds had shown that Diictodon skulls come in tusked and non-tusked variants, which may or may not suggest an instance of sexual dimorphism.

In popular cultureEdit

Diictodon was featured in the 3rd episode of the 2005 documentary Walking with Monsters, where it is placed in Russia alongside Inostrancevia, Scutosaurus, and an inaccurately misplaced Rhinesuchus (Diictodon did live in Asia, but only in China). As well as this, near the end of the segment, it survives the deadly sandstorm that kills the Inostrancevia, evolving into Lystrosaurus over a course of 9.8 (or 4.8) million years.

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