Varanopseid

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2023-07-18 Snargl 0 minute 0 second

What does the Varanopseid look like?

Varanopseid is a term for an extinct family of amniotes that resembled monitor lizards and may have filled a similar niche.

They are typically considered synapsids, a group of animals that includes mammals and their ancestors, but some recent studies have suggested that they may be closer to diapsids, a group that includes reptiles and birds.

Varanopseids had long, narrow skulls with sharp teeth, long tails, lizard-like bodies, and thin legs.

They ranged in size from 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) in length.

They lived from the Late Carboniferous to the Middle Permian, about 309 to 260 million years ago, and are known from fossils found in North America, Russia, Europe, and South Africa.

One of the best-known varanopseids is Mesenosaurus, which was first described by the Russian paleontologist and science fiction writer Ivan Efremov in 1938.

Mesenosaurus had a slender body and a long snout, and may have fed on insects and small vertebrates.

It was about 60 cm (2 feet) long and had scales similar to those of modern squamates (lizards and snakes).

Another well-known varanopseid is Aerosaurus, which was named after the Greek word for "air" because its bones were very light and hollow.

Aerosaurus was larger than Mesenosaurus, reaching about 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length.

It had a robust skull and powerful jaws, and may have been a more active predator than other varanopseids.

Varanopseids are an interesting and diverse group of ancient amniotes that show some of the early adaptations and variations of the lineage that led to mammals and reptiles.

They are also an example of convergent evolution, as they independently evolved a lizard-like appearance and lifestyle from different ancestors.

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