Live reconstruction of Lystrosaurus georgi

  • Antarctic
  • South Africa,
  • Asia (China, India)
  • European Russia

Lystrosaurus is a genus of therapsids ( " mammal -like reptiles " ) from the group of Dicynodontia that during the Late Permian ( Zechstein ) and Early Triassic ( Buntsandstein ) before 254-246 million years ago lived. Fossils of Lystrosaurus were found in South Africa, Antarctica, China, India and the European Russia.

Lystrosaurus was one of the few animals that survived the mass extinction at the end of the Permian, and was in the following, species-poor period of the early Triassic, the dominant herbivore land vertebrate.

Its discovery in the Transantarctic Mountains by Edwin H. Colbert and his team in the years 1969/70 helped to confirm the theory of plate tectonics, because fossils of Lystrosaurus had already been found in deposits of the early Triassic of South Africa, as well as in India and China. The present continents at that time formed the supercontinent Pangaea.


Lystrosaurus was a medium-sized, stocky built animal, which reached about the size of a pig. He had a short, downward snout, which, with the exception of two enlarged canine teeth in the upper jaw was toothless. Originally it was assumed that Lystrosaurus lived amphibian because of his lying on the skull far above the eyes and nostrils on the type of hippos. Published in 1991, two scientists an alternative view about the lifestyle of Lystrosaurus. Thus, were the changes in the structure of the skull to adapt to very firm, fiber rich food, typical of plants that grow in arid areas. The wide front feet are also suitable for digging.


  • Lystrosaurus murrayi ( Huxley, 1859)
  • Lystrosaurus curvatus ( Owen, 1876)
  • Lystrosaurus declivis Owen, 1876
  • Lystrosaurus georgi Kalandadze, 1975
  • Lystrosaurus hedini Young, 1935
  • Lystrosaurus mccaigi Seeley, 1898
  • Lystrosaurus oviceps Haughton, 1915
  • Lystrosaurus platyceps Seeley, 1898
  • Lystrosaurus rajurkari Tripathi & Satsangi, 1963
  • Lystrosaurus robustus Sun, 1973
  • Lystrosaurus shichanggouensis Cheng, 1986
  • Lystrosaurus weidenreichi Young, 1939


Petrification of a Lystrosaurus oviceps at the Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, USA

Fossilized skull of Lystrosaurus in Chinese palaeozoological Museum

Fossilized skull of Lystrosaurus in Chinese palaeozoological Museum