Wisconsin Dimetrodon and Friend

The term pelycosaur refers to an informal grouping of Late Paleozoic animals. They resemble large lizards, but they are not reptiles. They are also not dinosaurs, predating sauropods by about 200 million years. In many respects, the pelycosaurs are intermediate between the reptiles and mammals.

Dimetrodon is the most familiar example of pelycosaur. It lived in the Period Period, between 295 and 272 million years ago and was the top predator of its time. It grew to eleven feet long and weighed up to 300 pounds. Dimetrodon is perhaps most well know for its “sail,” a bony appendage those rose several feet vertically from its back.

Sharing the spotlight are skulls of a dimetrodon (right) and the smaller partial skull of a another Paleozoic creature from. Both skulls washed up on my beach in southeastern Wisconsin, a place I call Lake Michigan’s Left Coast.

I can’t help but wonder: Is the mangled state of some fossil skulls related to the unfortunate animal’s cause of death? Or did the mutilation occur postmortem, in the 250 million years or so since the poor creature’s demise? In any case, alongside the fascination they hold, damaged fossil skulls evoke empathy.

Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigans Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigans Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigans Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigans Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigans Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan
Fossil skulls from Wisconsin, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast, a blog by Elizabeth Fagan

Copyright, Disclaimer, Bibliography

Dimetrodon, fossil skulls, Elizabeth Fagan, Elizabeth Fagan, Elizabeth Fagan, Elizabeth Fagan, Elizabeth Fagan, Lake Michigans Left Coast, Elizabeth G Fagan, Lake Michigans Left Coast, Elizabeth G Fagan, Lake Michigans Left Coast, Elizabeth G Fagan, Lake Michigans Left Coast, Elizabeth G Fagan, Lake Michigans Left Coast, Elizabeth G Fagan, Elizabeth Grace Fagan, Elizabeth Grace Fagan, Elizabeth Grace Fagan, Elizabeth Grace Fagan, Elizabeth Grace Fagan

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