|Fossil skeleton of Varanops brevirostris in the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History|
Romer and Price, 1940
Varanopidae is an extinct family of amniotes that resembled monitor lizards and may have filled a similar niche, hence the name. Typically, they are considered synapsids that evolved from an Archaeothyris-like synapsid in the Late Carboniferous. However, some recent studies have recovered them being taxonomically closer to diapsid reptiles. A varanopid from the latest Middle Permian Pristerognathus Assemblage Zone is the youngest known varanopid and the last member of the "pelycosaur" group of synapsids.
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