The saber-toothed Inostrancevia was a type of therapsid, the group that includes modern mammals and their early relatives. It lived during the Permian, before the age of the dinosaurs, approximately 260 million years ago. At this time the continents were grouped together in a single huge land mass called Pangea. Inostrancevia was one of largest meat-eating predators of its day and roamed the parts of Pangea that would later become modern Russia.
1. Genera & species
3. History of Discovery
Genera and Species
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Order - Therapsida
Family - Gorgonopsidae
Genus & Species - Inostrancevia alexandri
Inostrancevia was a meat-eating therapsid with a long snout and enlarged saber-like canine teeth. It walked on four short legs with five-toed hands and feet. It had a short stubby tail. Large adults reached over 11 feet long.
Length - 3.5 m (11 ft.)
The gorgonopsids could open their jaws very wide to make use of their terrifyingly large canine teeth. These teeth were superficially similar to those of the saber-toothed cats that evolved much later. They probably also hunted in a similar style, using their large teeth to puncture the delicate belly or neck of their prey.
History of Discovery
The ferocious-looking Inostrancevia was discovered in the late 1800s during excavations in Northern Russia led by Professor Vladimir P. Amalitskii. The remains, uncovered from the area around the Northern Dvina River, included two almost complete skeletons. These were mounted in Saint Petersburg in the early 1900s. The fossil remains were described and named by Amalitskii, whose work was published in 1922, shortly after his death in 1917. Amalitskii chose the name Inostrancevia to honor one of his contemporaries, the Russian palaeontologist A. Inostrantsev (1843-1920).
Inostrancevia belonged to a group of therapsids called gorgonopsids. They were a major group of carnivorous during the Late Permian, 260 million years ago, and Inostrancevia was the largest of them all. The gorgonopsids - named after the gorgons of Greek mythology - must have hunted the large herbivorous therapsids that lived alongside them.