Dimetrodon - sail-backed prehistoric predator

Dimetrodon was a meat-eating animal that lived during the Permian Period, roughly 280 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs evolved. Its was a so-called mammal-like reptile, an ancestor of today's mammals.

Dimetrodon was 3.5 m long and weighed about 250 kg. It had a large, sail-like flap of skin along its back, dense with blood vessels.
The sail was supported by long, bony spines, each of which grew out of a separate spinal vertebra. This may have been a thermoregulatory structure, used to absorb and release heat, or else it may have been used for mating or making the animal look much larger that it was to predators.

Dimetrodon walked on four legs that sprawled to the sides, and was probably a fast runner. Its feet were clawed and it had very sharp teeth, making it a dominant carnivore in its time.

Fossil remains of this prehistoric animal have been found in the southwestern parts of the US, in Texas and Oklahoma.

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