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Charassognathus gracilis

This is the earliest known cynodont and the most primitive to date.  Its discovery indicates that cynodonts first emerged and diversified in the Gondwana.


Charassognathus gracilis


Botha, Abdala and Smith, 2007

Meaning of the generic name

Greek, charasso, prefix meaning ‘notch’ and gnathus , ‘jaw’, referring to the characteristic notch on the dentary.


Skull length: 60 mm, Length:  50 cm


Holotype (SAM-PK-K10369): complete skull and postcranial elements (cervicals, ribs and limbs elements).

Age and Distribution

Horizon: Hoedemaker Member of the Teekloof Formation, Tropidostoma assemblage zone, Upper Permian (Wuchianpingian).
Type locality:
Farm Willowdene, Beaufort West District, Western Cape Province, South Africa.


Synapsida Therapsida Cynodontia

  Further Reading

  J. Botha, F. Abdala, and R. M. H. Smith. 2007. The oldest cynodont: new clues on the origin and early diversification of the Cynodontia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 149(3):477-492.



Skull reconstruction of Charassognathus gracilis. From Botha et al., 2007. Scale bar is 10 mm (insert 1 mm).