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Cynognathus (pronounced sy-nog-NAY-thus) was a cynodont (a mammal-like reptile, not a dinosaur) that was the size of a wolf. This therapsid lived on open plains during the early to middle Triassic period, roughly 230-245 million years ago. It was probably warm-blooded and may have given birth to live young.

Diet and Teeth: Cynognathus was a fast-moving carnivore (a meat-eater). It had powerful jaws and dog-like teeth, including sharp incisors, long canines, and shearing cheek teeth. This predator hunted herbivores like Kannemeyeria (another early therapsid) in packs.

Anatomy: Cynognathus was a quadruped (it walked on four legs) that was flat-footed. It had a tail shorter than that of most reptiles. Cynognathus was roughly 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Its long skull was over 1 ft (30 cm) long. It isn't known what Cynognathus' skin was like - it may have had been covered with hair.

Fossils and Name: Cynognathus was named by H. G. Seeley in 1876. Cynognathus means "dog jaw." Fossils have been found in South Africa and Argentina.

Classification: Subclass Synapsida (synapsids, mammal-like animals), order Therapsida (therapsids, advanced synapsids and ancestors of mammals), suborder Cynodontia, family Cynognathidae, genus Cynognathus, many species.

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