Temporal range: Changhsingian, 254–252Ma
|Restored skeleton of I. alexandri|
Inostrancevia is a genus of extinct, carnivorous therapsid, containing the largest members of the family Gorgonopsidae, predators characterized by long, saber-tooth-like canines. It lived during the Upper Tatarian stage, Vyatskian Horizon of Russia, corresponding to the Changhsingian stage of the Late Permian period of the ICS, dating from approximately 254 to 252 mya. It was found in the Sokolki Assemblage in Arkhangelsk Oblast and is known from several skulls and two almost complete skeletons.
The species in Inostrancevia were the largest gorgonopsids known, with total body lengths reaching 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) and long, narrow skulls up to 60 cm (24 in) long. Like several other gorgonopsids, Inostrancevia was characterized by strongly developed canine teeth, with those of the upper jaw up to 15 cm (5.9 in) long, the root corresponding to half its length. Their bodies were slender, with rather short legs. Inostrancevia shared its habitat with Scutosaurus which it likely preyed upon.
The first remains found were part of the Northern Dvina River excavations lead by Russian paleontologist Vladimir P. Amalitsky during the end of the 19th century. Two nearly complete skeletons were found alongside several other skeletal remains, one of which was mounted and exhibited in Saint Petersburg in 1900 with the other following a few years later. Proper descriptions of the findings were published posthumously in 1922. The name Inostrancevia was given in honour of the Russian geologist Alexander Inostrancev.
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