I seem to remember reading some time ago about a dinosaur appearing very prominently in the fossil record, with continent-wise distribution. The layer is known specifically for having so many fossils of this dinosaur and might be named as such. Terms "cow-sized", "vegetarian", and "near to extinction event" come to mind. Does this ring a bell?

My memory might be so faulty that it could be an early amphibian, reptile or even mammal!


1 Answer 1


The closest example I can think of is Lystrosaurus, which was one of the most common animals in the early Triassic period. It was distributed across many modern continents, and was roughly the size of a pig or cow, depending on the species. Lystrosaurus was not a dinosaur, despite its name.

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Excerpt from the Wikipedia page (emphasis mine):

Lystrosaurus is notable for dominating southern Pangaea during the Early Triassic for millions of years. At least one unidentified species of this genus survived the end-Permian mass extinction and, in the absence of predators and of herbivorous competitors, went on to thrive and re-radiate into a number of species within the genus, becoming the most common group of terrestrial vertebrates during the Early Triassic; for a while 95% of land vertebrates were Lystrosaurus. This is the only time that a single species or genus of land animal dominated the Earth to such a degree

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    $\begingroup$ Note that Lystrosaurus was not a dinosaur; it was a dicynodont therapsid. However, it may well be the answer to the question anyway. $\endgroup$
    – iayork
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, that's what I was looking for. For some reason, I can't mark this answer as correct, doesn't give me the option. Maybe a moderator can do it? $\endgroup$
    – user24754
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:28

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