Dvinia prima -Amalitzky, 1922- skull
Therapsida: Cynodontia: Dviniidae
Locality: Sokolki, Malaya Severnaya Dvina River, Arkhangelsk Region, northern European Russia
Age: Late Permian, 250 million years ago
Meaning of name: "from the Dvina River"
Along with anamodonts, gorgonopsids, and therocephalians,
small cynodonts became widely distributed by the Late Permian.
The cynodonts fed on anything they could find, but most likely on insects.
This small, omnivorous therapsid is clearly advanced in having a temporal opening
so large that only a thin bar of bone remains to separate it from the eye socket.
In the cynodont Dvinia, the long snout probably possessed whiskers
and the body might have been covered by a tousled rigid fur,
that made this animal similar externally to some mammals.
Of all the therapsids on display in this exhibition, this is the one closest to the mammals.
The Permian cynodonts were ancestors of Mesozoic mammals.
In contrast to mammals, the brain in cynodonts was comparatively much less advanced.
The jaws and eyes constituted the main part of their skull,
whereas the brain case occupied a relatively small space.