I know you’ve never heard of gorgonopsids, but let me assure you, they are awesome. They are badass proto-mammals from beyond the dawn of time. Why have you never heard of them? Because you were too busy ogling those dinsoaurs. I know. I saw you. I used to be like you too. Those scales, those teeth – so enchanting, so alluring – but you, my friend, are missing out on a world-shaking plethora of amazing extinct things that make dinosaurs look like wimps. So why are gorgonopsids so great?
1. They Look Like Sabre-Toothed Wolves – I mean, just look at them. That’s awesome rolled in a shell of terrifying topped with crazy sprinkles.
2. Some Were Huge – This guy? This guy above? This is Inostrancevia alexandri. He was the size of a rhinoceros. What does Inostrancevia eat? Whatever Inostrancevia wants to.
3. They’re Older Than Dinosaurs – The earliest dinosaurs are about 230 million years old. These guys? Inostrancevia up there is 260 million. Gorgonopsids were already some of the largest predators on earth 30 million years before dinosaurs were a twinkle in some lizard’s eye. Looking good, big guy.
4. It Took The Earth Dying to Kill Them – The only reason these guys weren’t around to eat those puny dinosaurs? A little something called the Permain-Triassic Extinction, also known as the worst thing to ever happen to life on Earth. We’re not sure what caused it, but 96% ocean species and 70% of all land vertebrates died because of it. What might have happened? The best theories are multiple meteor strikes, the oceans drying up, or India exploding. That’s what it took to kill the gorgonopsids.
5. They Were Related to Us – The Earth blue-screening might have killed the gorgonopsids, but you know who survived? Their cousins, the eutheriodontia, a group that eventually evolved into all modern mammals. Oh, sure, they had to take a back-seat for a while as some trumped up lizards started running around, but you know what they did? They waited. They knew. The world used to be theirs.
And it would be again.