Dimetrodon

dimetrodon (3)

Distribution:

Dimetrons lived on the Super Continent of Pangaea. During the Permian period there was only one continent and it was huge. Eventually it would break apart and spread across the Earth’s surface creating the continents and oceans that we recognise today but that wouldn’t happen for many millions of years to come.

Time Period:

They existed during the early Permian period which was around 295-272 million years ago. The vast size of Pangaea caused severe climates with ice caps to the south and widespread deserts to the north. As the period progressed the atmosphere grew even hotter and dryer. The animals of the time adapted and diversified, finding new methods to cope with the climate. By the end of the period some had developed hair and warm blood, these were the predecessors of mammals.

The Permian period ended in the worst extinction in the whole history of the world. It wiped out up to 90% of life on the planet at the time.

Size:

The Dimetrodon was 3m (10ft) long and 2m (7ft) high on average, weighing around 250kg (550lbs).

Diet:

They were carnivores which mainly fed on fish, amphibians and early reptiles.

Interesting facts:

This is not a dinosaur! These very primitive organisms went extinct 40 million years before the first dinosaurs even existed and were in fact a synapsid, which is a type of reptile. Dimetrodon means ‘two measures tooth’ as they had two sets of teeth. The first set were used for capturing prey while the other set were used to strip meat from the bones of their prey. They must have been a very successful animal for millions of years as they were so widespread. The huge sail fin on their backs may have been used to intimidate other animals and to help with attracting a mate. However, it’s most likely to have regulated their body temperature by catching heat from the sun during the morning to warm them after the cold night.