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YESTERDAY I posted about the evolution of mammals from synapsids, which definitely were not “mammal-like reptiles”! Long before the mammals appeared the therapsids descended from basal synapsids. These animals were highly successful during the Permian, and if they had not been almost eradicated by the Permian-Triassic extinction the dinosaurs might never have had their chance at preeminence. Blogger Will Baird, who dropped by to read that article, has published on his blog an excellent overview of the gorgonopsids, a group of robust carnivorous therapsids.
You can read more about the gorgonopsids and other therapsids in Gorgon: Paleontology, Obsession, and the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth’s History. While Ward unfortunately does spend more time talking about himself than I’d like, he also devotes a lot of time to these carnivores, the alien ecosystem they inhabited, and the catastrophe that brought about their extinction.