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During the late Permian period, Dicynodonts were the most successful of land vertebrates, and occupied a range of evolutiontary niches. Many species died out in the Permian-Triassic extinction, but two families survived, and they and their descendents (especially Lystrosaurs) were the most successful herbivores of the early Triassic period.
Dicynodonts vary in size from being about the size of a rat to about the size of a horse, and were all herbivores (plant-eaters). Their bodies are usually short and strong with a short tail but powerful limbs - in larger species the hind limbs are erect, but the front limbs sprawl at the elbow. Additionally, in all but the earliest forms, Dicynodonts have a horny beak.
The name "Dicynodont" was coined by Sir Richard Owen in 1859 and means "two dog teeth". It refers to the two tusks that the animals had.
Dicynodonts were herbivorous (plant-eating) mammal-like reptiles that lived between 268 and 105 million years ago
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