STL Science Center

STL Science Center

31 May 2011

Diictodon News

Not really news so much as articles out of the past. The Proceedings of the Royal Society B are home to some of the best journal entries in all of science and they have not let us down today. Article 1 is all about the earliest evidence of burrowing animals, particularly in cynodonts. Naturally Diictodon is granted a nod here despite being a dicynodont and not a cynodont. The article mainly focuses on another animal but utilizes what is known of Diictodon burrowing behavior to compare evidence for the other animal's burrowing behaviors in support of the idea that it was the earliest burrowing cynodont.

Article 2 from the Proceedings is about Diictodon and, in particular, how it is considered to be the oldest example of sexual dimorphism in known species. The article describes Diictodon and attributes the sexual dimorphism to the possession or absence of tusks on either side of its keratinous beaks. The body characteristics of the tusked, male, and untusked, female, individuals is described as is the population trend between the two variations of skeleton.

Article 3 comes to us from Koedoe, an African open source journal of environmentalism and biology. The article discusses the growth of teeth in Diictodon, which is found heavily in Africa and Asia, and uses evidence in the teeth as growth rings are used in trees. The increments of growth have been illustrated using microscopic images of cross sectioned teeth from Diictodon fossils and the overall conclusion is that there is no certainty what each line represents in the teeth (years, months, days even). However, it is an interesting topic of conversation.

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