One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A herbivorous, mammallike fossil reptile of the late Permian and Triassic periods, with beaked jaws and no teeth apart from two tusks in the upper jaw of the male.
- ‘The skull is an example of convergent evolution with some of the ornithopods and also with the dicynodonts, an herbivorous group of early synapsids.’
- ‘Isolation by desiccation would also explain why dicynodonts - mammallike reptiles that dominate fossil assemblages elsewhere during this time - are conspicuously absent at the site that yielded the two new amphibians.’
- ‘One group of therapsids, the dicynodonts, were herbivores with a worldwide distribution.’
- ‘The wide diversity of large aetosaurs suggests that they have taken over the role of big herbivore vacated by the trilophosaurs, rhynchosaurs, and dicynodonts with their disappearance from the region at the end of the Carnian.’
- ‘In many dicynodonts the tusks are present in about half of the individuals, indicating that these were probably sexual characters, presumably present in one gender morph and absent in the other.’
Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Dicynodontia (plural), from Greek di- ‘two’ + kuōn ‘dog’ + odous, odont- ‘tooth’.
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