|“||Diictodon - a hardy little borrower. Just a half-a meter long.||„|
|— Allen, about Diictodon|
Diictodon is a genus of small, prehistoric, burrowing therapsid herbivore dicynodont mammal-like, closely related to mammals, reptile that originated during the Permian. It was one of the few survivors of the Permian mass extinction.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Diictodon lived during the Late Permian period 260-250 million years ago. It was among the smallest animal of its time. Diictodon was first discovered by Richard Owen in 1876.
Diictodon was a small animal, just half-a meter long or approximately 45 centimeters in length. They possessed a barrel-like body with strong legs, and a large head which ended in a small beak with a pair of tusks protruding from the upper-jaw. Diictodon also had large round eyes, and white and brown patterns on their skin.
Though both male and female Diictodon have a short pair of tusks, the males tusks were larger than the females. Like the large predatory Inostrancevia, Diictodon were distant reptile relatives of mammals and although the first true mammals didn't evolved until about 30 million years after the Permian, their was already family resemblances in Diictodon. In particular, their hearing was linked to tiny bones in their lower jaw. These eventually evolved into our middle ear bones, something no reptile had.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Diictodon lived as pairs in spiral-shaped burrows dug deep underground, which remained cool even in the desert heat. This way of life allowed them to survive in sand storms, and they found plant tubers that held enough water and nutrients to keep them going for several months. They also ate off of roots under the ground.
Several pairs of Diictodon would have been more of a neighborhood rather than a colony. Therefore, they competed ferociously for the sparse vegetation that was their food and this frequently led to confrontations. These clashes were one reason why both males and females sported a pair of short tusks. However, Diictodon did have one big advantage when living in a crowd: if a neighbor spotted danger, then everyone soon knew about it and could take action to protect themselves.
|“|| Cute, little burrowers that lived in pairs underground in spiral-shaped burrows dug deep beneath the Earth, Diictodon were adapted to living life underground; something of a prehistoric version of a modern day gopher, ground hog, and prairie dog. In their burrows, they could survive a sand storm. Both males and females sported a pair of short tusks. They also had a very good sense of hearing.
Although several pairs of Diictodon would be neighbors, they never lived in colonies. They furiously competed for food, but when they were in danger, they warned each other about it.
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Diictodon|