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Early Triassic Fauna

from the Dinosaur Collector

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updated 081211

The Permian extinction killed of 90% of all land species.  This left a limited fauna for the Early Triassic with much lower diversity than in the Permian.  A few species make it through the extinction. Lystrosaurus was present in the latest Permian. There are at least four species are known three are present before the extinction two of which are present in the Early Triassic. The Dicynodonts especially Lystrosaurus are the most common members of every land based community and to a lesser extent the early Cynodont Thrinaxodon.  There was a major revival of the amphibious labyrinthidonts. The initial Triassic faunal assemblage is often referred to as the Lystrosaurus zone. Find Diorama and Toy Figure Makers Pages:
Lystrosaurus has been found on every continent including Antarctica. Lystrosaurus  was a sheep sized dicynodont that survived the Permian extinction and filled the empty habitats. Tasmanisaurus was an Australian version of the better known Protersuchus   Lystrosaurus was an important part of proving the theory of continental drift. Originally seen as a aquatic animal like the modern hippo, it had no special adaptations for aquatic life.  It may even have been a borrowing animal.
Lystrosaurus and Tasmanisaurus from Cadbury Yowies.  Yowies are an Australian term for the local Big Foot.  Cadbury has produced several series of premiums based on Australian wide life including extinct species.   They appear to have only been marketed in Australia, New Zealand and to a lesser extent the UK.  They come in a small package with an information sheet.  The figures are then put together like a puzzle. Australia has only a limited number of dinosaur discoveries. By the third series they broadened the dinosaur line to include animals found outside Australia    Kaiyodo gives the Lystrosaurus from its Dino Tales line a sprawling reptilian look.  Sold as premiums in boxes of chocolates, the Choco Eggs were a big seller in Japan.  There are several series like the Australian Yowies,  Dino Tales being the prehistoric line.  The original series were re-released in different color schemes. There were also rare magazine releases so that collecting them is extremely involved.  They do not seem have been made available in the US on any scale.


The early archesosaur Euparkeria was a minor component of the Early Triassic fauna..  Diaspids had not been especially prominent in the preceding Permian.  The evolution of this group seems to have been inhibited by the pelycosaurs ( Dimetrodon and relatives) and their descendants. They are found in specialized aquatic and flying niches waiting for their chance.   


(Scroll right ) Popular figure companies have largely ignored the Triassic.  The Starlux company from France is the exception.  Starting on the left is Euparkeria once thought to be a dinosaur ancestor.  Then there are the labyrinthidonts and a Mastodonsaurus.  In the lower left a paper Thrinaxodon and upper right the aquatic paper Protersuchus note the characteristic hook at the end of the snout.

Erythosuchus africanus was five metres in overall length, with a stocky body and an enormous head a metre in length.  The size of a large crocodile these great carnivores held their heads aloft on massive necks, and their huge teeth and tremendous jaws would have enabled them to feed easily on other animal prey. Yet these animals, the largest predators of their time, were too heavy and clumbsy to be able to actively pursue and run down prey.  Like the modern crocodile or komodo-dragon lizard, they would have been ambush-preditors, lying in wait for prey behind thick vegetation, then rushing out in a short burst of speed, and quickly overwhelming the helpless victim with their tremendous jaws.
From King Kong series. Picture by Fred R. Hinojosa.

Triadobatrachus lived in Madagascar and was about 4 inches long.  The hip structure indicates it swam using a kicking motion.  This may have evolved in a jumping action in its descendants. 

PlayVision Triadobatrachus from the prehistoric amphibian series.  A brief an excellent series that has become much sought after.


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