Life Before Dinosaurs

Here you will find out about the animals other than the sea creatures and the bugs. (Find the fish in the Extinct Marine Animals link and the bugs in Extinct Insects & Bugs link.)  You will find out about the bizare mammal-like reptiles that ruled the world before the dinosaurs.  Find out about the Gorganopsid and lots more.



Dimetrodon was a Mammal-Like Reptile that lived before the dinosaurs, it was also an ancestor of mammals, so you could pretty much say it was your extremly long lost ancestor!  It was about 2 metres long and had a huge sail on it's back which was about 1m tall. 


Dimetrodon lived in what is called the Permian period.  It lived from about 280 million years ago to about 260 million years ago.  It lived in Russia, and certain parts of Europe and the USA.


Dimetrodon was a carnivore, (meat eater) feeding on Edaphosaurus and smaller reptiles and vertebrates. (Animals with backbones)


Dimetrodon females had to pack on the pounds before laying their eggs because they had to sit on them for 7 months without food until they hatched.  Dimetrodon had to keep their eggs at the right temperature so the young didn't die inside.


Interesting Facts:


  • Dimetrodon were canibalistic.
  • Adult Dimetrodon can't stand dung.   



By Rob


Gorgonopsid was a Mammal-Like Reptile that lived during the late Permian, around 280 to 250 million years ago.  At about 5m long, a long head and a very powerful jaw, it was one of the biggest and most powerful predators to ever live before the Dinosaurs came about 30 million years later.


Gorgonopsid ate about any meat that nature offered at the time, it somtimes tackled big prey like the Scutosaurus, and maybe even the odd Amphibian.  It had to take about every opportunity to grab a meal because it lived during the massive Permian extinction, (due to massive climate change) which wiped out about 90% of all life on Earth.  It was a much bigger extinction than that of the Dinosaurs, which wiped out about 65% of life on Earth.


Gorgonopsid was a mammel-like reptile, but some people say that it was a cousin of the Dinosaurs, it may well could have been so.  But it is very unlikely, and it was, believe it or not, probably more linked to humans than the Dinosaurs.


Interesting Facts:


  • Gorgonopsid had some of the first sabre teeth, most likely an adaption for being a carnivore.  (meat eater)
  • The Gorgonops were probably the most powerful predators until the Dinosaurs came.



By Rob


Placerias were Dicynodonts, a group of Mammal-Like Reptiles that dominated life before Dinosaurs.  Placerias were some of the last Dicynodonts, and got extinct about 215 million years ago in the Late Triassic period.  Placerias could grow up to 3.5m long and could weigh in up to a tonne, big enough so that strong ones could easily withstand attacks.


Placerias were herbivores feeding on a variety of vegetation.  They could feed on low ferns, roots wich they dug up with their tusks and club mosses.


Placerias had a pair of tusks on their face.  These tusks could be used for more than one thing.  These tusks could be used for digging up roots and their beaks to snip off plant food.  Placerias' tusks could also be used as great defencive weapons, and could inflict deep wounds on predators such as Postosuchus.  They would all like to try and run away from predators but, being desparately slow, didn't help much.


Placerias fossil finds have been found in America, the best Placerias fossil find, however, was in the Petrified forest in Arizona, USA.  In that massive cluster the Archaeologists identified forty Placerias individuals.


Interesting Facts:


  • Placerias were herd animals, living in big groups.
  • Placerias probably spent lots of time in the water, especially on scorching heat.
  • Being Mammal-Like Reptiles, Placerias were ancesters of Mammals.
  • Placerias were not Dinosaurs. 

By Rob


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