Dimetrodon

Dimetrodon grandis

  • Pronounced:  die - Met - tro - don

  • Diet:  Carnivore (meat-eater)

  • Name Means:  "two measures tooth"

  • Length:  12 feet (3.6 m)

  • Height:  6.5 feet (2.1 m)

  • Weight:  550 pounds (260 kilos)

  • Time:  Late Permian - 270 mya

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in North America

Dimetrodon is commonly mistaken for a dinosaur, but it was in fact NOT a dinosaur at all. It was one of a number of animals known as Mammal-Like Reptiles that dominated the late Permian period. It was a large meat-eater that lived primarily in swampy areas and had a very interesting feature - a large sail on its back. Dimetrodon disappeared at the beginning of the Triassic Period.

Unlike other pelycosaurs that did not have fins, Dimetrodon was able it to warm up in the morning and cool off more efficiently during the heat of the day due to its sail. This method of controlling its body temperature, along with its large and powerful jaws, gave this predator a distinct advantage over the other large carnivores, making it the dominant land predator. In fact, its ability to warm up faster would have enabled it to catch and eat the slower, non-finned Mammal-Like Reptiles.

Dimetrodon is easily distinguished from dinosaurs as its legs were positioned on the side of its body while dinosaurs had their legs under their bodies. Even with this body structure, it was probably a very fast runner. It had a large head with very strong jaws and two types of teeth -sharp fang-like teeth for ripping and tearing in the front and smaller cheek teeth in the back that were designed for shredding the meat.



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