Lystrosaurus murrayi (S/F)

Lystrosaurus murrayi is a species of dicynodont in the family Lystrosauridae, known from approximately 252 to 247 million years ago (the early Triassic period). Fossils belonging to this species are known from the Katberg Formation in South Africa, while earlier species of Lystrosaurus are known from the nearby Balfour Formation. This species is one of the later members of its genus, and its ancestors were survivors of Earth’s most destructive mass extinction, the Permian-Triassic extinction event, in which 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates became extinct. This herbivorous reptile’s genus name means “shovel reptile,” referencing its burrowing habits. Its species name honors Scottish geologist and lecturer John Murray.

Other species of Lystrosaurus include Lystrosaurus maccaigi, the largest and most specialized; Lystrosaurus curvatus, the least specialized, and the one which survived the Permian extinction; and Lystrosaurus declivis, which like L. murrayi lived only during the Triassic period. A possible fifth species, called Lystrosaurus georgi, has been described from the early Triassic of the Moscow Basin. Other remains have been described from throughout Asia and Antarctica.