STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 November 2018

Papers of Many Measures

There are many Dimetrodon papers. A significant number of those papers are descriptions of different finds of Dimetrodon from various different places. The original naming papers would be most interesting, if we had them somewhere online. We do not, to my knowledge. However, we do have the first Dimetrodon species known from Europe, the first from outside of North America actually, which was found in the Bromacker assemblage. This is a Lower Permian formation in and around the Thuringian Forest of Central Germany.

There are other descriptions of Dimetrodon as well. Some of these regard the jaw muscles of the interestingly shaped skull of Dimetrodon. Other venture into describing how Dimetrodon may have regulated its temperature using its unique sail structure. The structure of the sail is, of course, a constant subject of study. Like any other body part, the sail could be subjected to injury as well, and studies have certainly been conducted that on said injuries.

Many of these studies together have led to phylogenetic studies of Dimetrodon. The pelycosaurs, in general, are in an interesting position in the evolutionary tree of synapsids. One of the papers I enjoyed reading when I first learned systematics and began dealing with trees is this paper by Ken Angielczyk which uses Dimetrodon as an example species in how to think about trees (otherwise discussed as "tree thinking") how to use them to understand relationships between taxa.

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