The Dimetrodon was a prehistoric reptile that is known for having a large sail on its back and it was a carnivore synapsid that lived during the Permian period. It was not a true dinosaur, but was actually a reptile likemammal. It lived about 250 million years ago, went extinct 10 million years before the remaining dinosaurs, and has a close relationship to mammals. There are little known facts about the Dimetrodon that are very interesting and is well known to the public.
Are Dimetrodons Dinosaurs?
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While this creature looks like a dinosaur, it is actually a reptile belonging to the pelycosaur group. It was around 50 million years before the first dinosaur. This group described mammal-like reptiles, and this particular creature had some characteristic of a mammal.
What Type of Teeth does a Dimetrodon Have?
The Dimetrodon was named after the features that were found on the two different types of teeth it had. In the front of the mouth were sharp canines and in the back were teeth that were used for grinding.
What Did the Dimetrodon Eat?
Paleontologists believe that the Dimetrodon was related to the Edaphosaurus. The Edaphosaurus is a 200-pound creature that looks like the Dimetrodon and also had a “sail”. This creature ate plants and sea creatures, while the Dimetrodon liked to eat meat. It was possible that these creatures are cousins.
During its time it was a dominant predator, and was about 3 meters in length. It had two types of teeth, one which was used for for shearing, and the other which was shaped more like canine teeth. It had a large tail and was a quadruped which walked on four legs which sprawled. The legs were locked in position and walked similarly to how a crocodile does. It took tens of millions of years for another creature to walk likewise.
One of the most noted features of the Dimetrodon is its sail, which dimetrodon species that were uncovered during the 19th and the 20th centuries did not have tails. They had a small stub at the end. In 1927, fossils of the Dimetrodon were found that have longer tails.
Fossil records show a full grown male was about 15 long and weighed around 500 pounds. The bones were thicker, and the sails were also larger. This is said that a male with a bigger sail was able to attract more females during mating season.
During the Paleozoic Era is was essential to be large to survive. The Dimetrodon lived with large creatures including the Eryops, which was a 200-pound reptile. It also lived with the Diplocaulus during this era.
There are 15 known spices of the Dimetrodon, and most of them lived in North America with a concentration around modern Texas. There were only one species that was found in the western part of Europe.
Is Dimetrodon Our ancestor?
Most paleontologists believe the sails on this reptile were cold-blooded, and they moved slowly, the sails were used to help regular the temperature. The large surface area would have allowed it to effectively be cooled or warmed. During the day, they would soak up the light from the sun and use it to keep the Dimetrodon warm during the night. It could also have been used to scare off potential predators, or as a method for attracting mates. Because Dimetrodon was a synapsid, it may be related to the many mammals which exist today.
Looking at the fossil history over the years this reptile has gone by several different names. At one time it was called Clepsydrops and anther time Embolophorus. Scientists were able to match records, and now it is just dimetrodon. Even though Dimetrodon existed 40 million years before the dinosaurs, it resembled them in various different ways.