March 19th, 2021

Picture 1: cynodont skeleton cast part of the museum education collection, scale bar is 10 cm.
Picture 2: cynodont skeleton cast with a more tilted view.

As we are in the thick of March Mammal Madness, we thought it fitting to feature this cynodont skeleton for our #FossilFriday this week. This cynodont skeleton shows how small some of these mammalian-like animals could be (roughly the size of a small house cat).


Cynodonts, part of the stem mammals (synapsids), first appeared in the fossil record during the late Permian period around 260 million years ago. In the aftermath of the Permian mass extinction (post 252 million years ago), the cynodonts began to diverge away from their reptilian ancestors and developed more mammalian-like traits. The mammals around today are the only surviving group of Cynodontia.

For more information on March Mammal Madness (#2021MMM) visit:

Picture 3: reconstruction of a cynodont Thrinaxodon. Courtesy of: Nobu Tamura (, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.
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