|“||Inostrancevia, a carnivorous gorgonopsid. It's fast, incredibly powerful, and a compact killing machine equipped with deadly weapons no hunter has had before.||„|
|— Allen, about Inostrancevia|
Inostrancevia is a genus of large gorgonopsid, a type of predatory mammal-like reptile synapsids, that originated during the Late Permian period, but died out before the Mesozoic. At more than 5 meters long, it was known for being a deadly and effective hunter, having possessed the worlds first true saber-teeth, which it used to deadly effect on its prey, which included anything up to the size of giant Labyrinthodont Amphibians and Scutosaur Pareiasaurs.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Inostrancevia was the top predator of the Late Permian period, from 260–248 million years ago. It was the apex predator of its time. The first fossils were found in the Sokolniki Assemblage in the Oblast of Arkhangelsk as part of the Northern Dvina Riverexcavations led by Amalitsky during the end of the 19th century. However, proper descriptions of the findings were published posthumously in 1922.
Inostrancevia was the size of a tiger (lower size estimate) or a rhino (upper size estimate), up to 10.6–16.5 feet (3.2–5 m) long, 500–700 kg in weight, and stood around 3–6 feet (1–2 m) tall, tall enough to look humans in the eye. This size made Inostrancevia the largest predator of its time. They were swift, very powerful, and possessed lethal weapons no other predatory hunter before them ever had. And there was nothing to rival them until the dinosaurs evolved about 20 millions years from Inostrancevia's time.
Inostrancevia had a large, compact, four-legged body with a large head and snout, and it possessed mammalian specializations; including differentiated tooth shape, a fully developed temporal fenestra, pillar-like rear legs, and ear bones.
Unlike the dinosaurs, Inostrancevia was already broadly similar as well as more closely related to modern mammals, at least on the outside, rather than lizards and crocodiles. It had several types of teeth in its jaws and legs that were located directly beneath its body, rather than in a sprawling posture (unlike Dimetrodon). It didn't have a sail and possibly could have regulated its body temperature internally. While it may not have had fur, they evolved scent glands in their skin. It also laid eggs, though it isn't known for sure whether or not it took care of its young, unlike the true mammals or other mammal-like reptiles.
Inostrancevia was a deadly carnivore. Like all Gorgonopsids - being famed for their sabre-teeth - one of the most characteristic traits of Inostrancevia and other gorgonopsids were its pair of 12 centimeter-long fangs, the first saber teeth on the planet. These evolved over 240 million years before the first sabre-toothed cats and are an iconic and noteworthy example of clear-cut convergent evolution. Unlike the jaws of the later sabretooths, such as Smilodon from the Pliocene, the huge jaws of Inostrancevia were relatively long, but they had only two types of teeth - the killing sabre-like canines and the shorter incisors.
Together, these teeth and jaws made effective killing weapons, but were useless at chewing meat, and the gorgonopsids probably fed in a manner similar to modern Komodo dragons or crocodilians - they ripped away chunks of flesh and swallowed them whole. This method of eating was rather inefficient and may have been one of the reasons as why the gorgonopsians have died out. A single snap of their enormous jaws could crush Diictodon, if they could get a grip.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Despite its size, Inostrancevia was a patient and implacable ambush predator and had a strong sense of smell, lurking behind natural cover before ambushing its prey, like Lystrosaurus and Scutosaurus. It would chase and catch up to them, galloping at a top speed of 50 km/h (30 mph), before inflicting wounds with its' saber-like teeth, causing the herbivores to die from blood loss and pain shock - and then it would eat. After eating a fill of food, Inostrancevia needed to drink water to wash down their food.
Once Inostrancevia smelled blood from its prey, it would relentlessly track and pursue its prey at all costs. After hunting down and killing their prey, Inostrancevia sometimes stored it in trees to eat later, in a manner which mirrored behaviour displayed by modern-day leopards and bears.
Though it looked like a mammal, Inostrancevia didn't have a social life as modern mammals do. As such, it was a solitary hunter, only getting together during mating season. Still, it could tolerate other members of its kind, just like the modern crocodiles, and the members of this species would gather in groups at watering holes and similar places, at least for a time. Smaller Inostrancevia did well to stand out of the way of larger Inostrancevia, whether it be male or female. When it came to a herd of Scutosaurus, even fully grown, adult Inostrancevia, even the largest ones, did not to attack a large armored herd.