Reconstruction by Dmitry Bogdanov
When: Permian (~270 to 251 million years ago)
Where: South Africa
What: Lycaenops was one of the predatory synapsids (‘mammal like reptiles’) of the late Permian. It lived in what is now South Africa and was about the size of a living coyote, at 3 feet (~ 1 meter long). Lycaenops is a member of the Gorgonopsia, which were the dominate predators of the late Permian. Multiple species of gorgonopsians lived at the same time in South Africa, much like how multiple species of canids or felids will have over lapping ranges today. Lycaenops, like most of its kin, had an enlarged pair of canines to help capture its prey. It is unknown if the gorgonopsids had any hair or were covered with scales.
Gorgonopsids are synapsids on the evolutionary line of mammalia. Of the synapsids I have covered before, they fall in the range between Edaphosaurus and Cynognathus. This is not to say they were closely related to either, ‘pre mammal’ synapsids were a long lived and very diverse array of taxa.