Therocephalians had broad jaw muscles and reduced phalanges much like modern mammals. Most examples were likely endothermic and carnivorous, though some genera may have been herbivores instead.
It is possible that some therocephalians may have been at least partially aquatic.
Therocephalia is the sister group to Cynodontia, which includes all modern mammals. Both groups survived the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, but the therocephalians only persisted for a short time into the Triassic, while the cynodonts continued to diversify.
Below is a cladogram modified from a paper published by Adam K. Huttenlocker in 2014, showing the position of Therocephalia within the therapsids.
In popular cultureEdit
A group of unspecified therocephalians appeared in the third episode of the 2005 BBC documentary Walking with Monsters, stalking a herd of Lystrosaurus. In this series, they are depicted as being venomous. Although this feature was speculation, some therocephalian fossils show that such an ability may have been possible for certain species.
Venomous therocephalians also appeared in an episode of the ITV science fiction series Primeval.
- ↑ Ivakhnenko, M.F. (2011). "Permian and Triassic therocephals (Eutherapsida) of Eastern Europe". Paleontological Journal 45 (9): 981–1144. doi:10.1134/S0031030111090012.
- ↑ Tatarinov, L.P. (1994). "On the preservation of rudimentary rostral tubular complex of crossopterygians in theriodonts and on possible development of the electroreceptor systems in some members of this group". Doklady Akademii Nauk 338 (2): 278–281.
- ↑ Huttenlocker, A.K.; Sidor, C.A.; and Smith, R.M.H. (2011). "A new specimen of Promoschorhynchus (Therapsida: Therocephalia: Akidnognathidae) from the Lower Triassic of South Africa and its implications for theriodont survivorship across the Permo-Triassic boundary". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31 (2): 405–421. doi:10.1080/02724634.2011.546720.
- ↑ Huttenlocker, A. K. (2014). "Body Size Reductions in Nonmammalian Eutheriodont Therapsids (Synapsida) during the End-Permian Mass Extinction". PLoS ONE 9 (2): e87553. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087553.