This week’s transitional fossil comes from the genus Lycaenops, meaning Wolf-Face, and from the suborder Gorgonopsians, meaning Gorgon-Face. Hmm… Some gorgonopsians were large, but the Lycaenops measured at 1 metre long.
L. ornatus – 260 mya – Permian
The Lycaenops had a slender skull similar to a wolf’s, hence the name. It was quite a predator, legs agile, and had canine fangs designed for tearing its prey apart. Oh no, Tim. You shouldn’t be using the word ‘design’ around here.
L. ornatus shows good transition from synapsids (reptile) to mammals. It looked more like a mammal but still had primitive features, such as ribs in the lumbar region. Lycaenops lived in Africa, but fossils have also been discovered in Russia and China (remember — Pangaea).
Wolf-Face and other gorgonopsians went extinct by the end of the Permian. Zombie-Dog is what I call it.