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Vyatkagorgon

Vyatkagorgon

The name “Gorgonopsian” is Greek-Latein: Gorgo/Gorgonis is a mythological monster in  appearance of woman named Gorgona and “opsis”--the look, face). Gorgonopsians are predatory lizards. They are known from Upper Permian South Africa. They were dominating predators of Late Permian. The largest from well-known representatives of this fossil reptiles group was Inostrancevia alexandri, which 2 skeletons were found on the Malaya Severnaya Dvina river at the beginning of 20th centuries during excavation, headed by V. P. Amalitskii, the Professor from Warshaw University.

The complete skeleton found in Kotelnich red-beds in 1992 belongs to a small Gorgonopsia at Kotelnich Time these animals were small and brisk predators. The find is not more 70 cm.length-wise. In a completely preservation postcranial skeleton is similar to analogous find of Gorgonopsia of genus Lycaenops from Permian South Africa, which skeleton structure resembles the skeleton of running animal, but the standing of front limb was primitive like before: the humerus is directed almost horizontal, the stricture of thing-bone is comparable with crocodile’s one. In the skull structure there are many signs typical for Gorgonopsia: a long massive snout, wide pariental part of skull, simple pointed cheek teeth, very developed fangs, absence of secondary palate.

Vyatkagorgon's reconstruction

The primitive representatives of Theriodontia unite in group of Gorgonopsians. The Academician L. P. Tatarinov described the Kotelnich find as Viatkogorgon ivakhnenkoi. The skeleton of this Gorgonopsia was found in complex with a skeleton of the biggest Suminia. The animals stamped in clay sediment, preserving the smallest dentails of their structure like fingers phalanxes, thin abdominal ribs, rings of sclerotic in eye sockets.  Besides the first find of complete Viatkogorgon skeleton else 2 finds are well-known. One of them is the isolated skull in a bad state of preservation, belonging to a bigger individual. It was found under the Dicynodonts level within the Kotelnich town. The second find is accumulation of postcranial skeleton bones, found in a meters from the first find. The fact of some finds of Gorgonopsians remains let to speak about their past multiplicity, because the remains of big dominating predators are found very seldom, that causes the common balance between the number of predators and their sacrifices in both fossil and modern faunas.

Vyatkagorgon's reconstruction

Kotelnich Gorgonopsians were probably mobile and aggressive predators, because their small sizes and light-weight body construction, presence of elongated limbs. They could eat Dicynodonts, Pareiasaurs’ young and weak individuals, Suminias and other Therocethalians, they didn’t disdain to eat carrion.

Gorgonopsians existed on the Earth not for a long time. In Early Triassic they were forced out with other, more promoted Theriodonts from the group of Cynodonts.