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Estemmenosuchus (pronounced es-TEM-en-oh-SOOK-us) was an ancient plant-eater that lived during the late Permian period, roughly 255 million years ago (this was before the dinosaurs evolved). Estemmenosuchus was not a dinosaur; it was a dicynodont therapsid (therapsids are sometimes called mammal-like reptiles). Estemmenosuchus' predators may have included Eotitanosuchids and Brithopodids.

Diet and Teeth: Estemmenosuchus was an herbivore (plant-eater). It had long, sharp, forward-pointing teeth in the front of the mouth and smaller cheek teeth at the sides; these teeth let Estemmenosuchus eat a wide variety of tough plant material (like cycads, horsetails, and conifers).

Anatomy: Estemmenosuchus was a bulky quadruped (it walked on four legs). It was about 13 feet (4 m) long and was over 6.5 feet (2 m) tall. Estemmenosuchus had a massive skull, a short tail, and a bulky body. The thick skull had many bony knobs: two by the nostrils, two in the middle of the snout, and two moose-like "horns" over the eyes. Fossilized skin shows a smooth, scaleless texture.

Fossils and Name: Estemmenosuchus was named by P. K. Chudinov in 1913. Estemmenosuchus name means crowned reptile. Fossils have been found in eastern Russia.

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

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