A large fossil reptile of the late Carboniferous and Permian periods, typically having a line of long bony spines along the back supporting a sail-like crest.
- Order Pelycosauria, subclass Synapsida: several families and genera, including Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus.
- Between the Carboniferous pelycosaurs and the first Jurassic mammals, the jaw articulation changed.
- A characteristic pelycosaur was Dimetrodon, a large predator from the Permian of Texas.
- Nevertheless these primitive animals were more advanced on the road the to mammalian evolution, and, like the pelycosaurs, diverged along several lines as herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.
Late 19th century: from Greek pelux, peluk- 'bowl' + sauros 'lizard'.
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