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Gorgonops may look like a big lizard, but it was actually more closely related to mammals! It belonged to a group of animals called therapsids, which include mammals and their ancestors. Many traits we associate with mammals today, including straight limbs and complex teeth, first evolved in therapsids and their relatives more than 250 million years ago.
Gorgonops grew to nearly 6 feet in length, and was an important large predator in its environment. It lived from 260-255 million years ago, during the end of the Permian Period, nearly 10 million years before the first dinosaurs. Similar to extinct saber-toothed cats, gorgonopsids likely used their large canine teeth to capture and consume their prey.