Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Extinct order belonging to the subclass Synapsida, class Reptilia, that contains the suborder Cynodontia, considered to be the ancestors of all mammals; mammal-like reptiles; the therapsids consist of three suborders and 36 families. This group of reptiles had features that laid down the basic mammalian body plan, including more advanced terrestrial locomotion and masticatory apparatus. They existed from the Middle Permian to the Early Jurassic.