Dimetrodon Pictures

01
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What Was the Dimetrodon?

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

Dimetrodon wasn't technically a dinosaur but a pelycosaur, one of the prehistoric reptiles that preceded the dinosaurs. Here are pictures, illustrations and photographs of this famous plant-eater.

It's often described as a true dinosaur, but the fact is that Dimetrodon was a pelycosaur--one of the reptile families that preceded the dinosaurs. Still, as one of the biggest and flashiest pelycosaurs, you can make the case that Dimetrodon deserves honorary dinosaur status! 

02
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Dimetrodon - Two Measures of Teeth

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

The name Dimetrodon is Greek for "two measures of teeth"-- which is rather disappointing, considering that this pelycosaur's most notable feature was the huge sail jutting up vertically from its spine. 

03
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The Dimetrodon's Sail

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

Why did Dimetrodon have a sail? We may never know for sure, but the most likely explanation is that this reptile used its sail to regulate its body temperature--soaking up sunlight during the day and allowing its internal heat to dissipate at night.

04
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Another Purpose for Dimetrodon's Sail

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

Dimetrodon's sail may have served a dual purpose: as a temperature-regulation device, and also as a sexually selected characteristic (that is, males with bigger, more prominent sails had more opportunity to mate with females). 

05
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Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus

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Dimetrodon. Nobu Tamura

Further complicating speculation about the function of Dimetrodon's sail is the fact that a virtually identical pelycosaur of the Permian period--Edaphosaurus--lacked this feature. 

06
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Dimetrodon's Size

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Dimetrodon. Junior Geo

Although it didn't attain the massive size of the dinosaurs that succeeded it, Dimetrodon was one of the biggest land animals of the Permian period, measuring about 11 feet long and weighing about 500 pounds. 

07
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Dimetrodon was a Synapsid

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Dimetrodon. Alain Beneteau

Dimetrodon was technically a type of reptile known as a synapsid, which means that (in certain respects) it was more closely related to mammals than to dinosaurs. One branch of synapsids were the "mammal-like reptiles," with had fur, wet noses and possibly warm-blooded metabolisms. 

08
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When did Dimetrodon Live?

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Dimetrodon. Flickr

Dimetrodon lived during the Permian period, the historical stretch of time immediately preceding the Mesozoic Era (the so-called "age of dinosaurs.") Judging by its fossil remains, this pelycosaur reached its population peak anywhere from 280 to 265 million years ago. 

09
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When Dimetrodon Lived

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Dimetrodon. Museum of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium

Because it's so often mistaken for a dinosaur, Dimetrodon has sometimes been portrayed (in low-budget movies) as living alongside dinosaurs, which are themselves depicted as living alongside early humans! 

10
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Where Dimetrodon Lived

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Dimetrodon. Flickr

The remains of Dimetrodon have been discovered in North America, in areas that were mired in swamps during the Permian period. Similar fossils of pelycosaurs have been unearthed all over the world. 

11
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Dimetrodon's Diet

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

A reptile the size of Dimetrodon would have had to eat a considerable amount of plants each day, which explains this pelycosaur's relatively massive head and jaws.

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Dimetrodon - a Common Fossil

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Dimetrodon. Wikimedia Commons

Because this pelycosaur's fossil remains are so plentiful, reconstructions of Dimetrodon can be found in practically every natural history museum around the world. 

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Your Citation
Strauss, Bob. "Dimetrodon Pictures." ThoughtCo, Mar. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/dimetrodon-dinosaur-pictures-4122772. Strauss, Bob. (2017, March 20). Dimetrodon Pictures. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/dimetrodon-dinosaur-pictures-4122772 Strauss, Bob. "Dimetrodon Pictures." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/dimetrodon-dinosaur-pictures-4122772 (accessed May 20, 2018).