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Dimetrodon limbatus was a quadrupedal, sail-backed synapsid. Most Dimetrodon limbatus species ranged in length from 6 to 15 feet and are estimated to have weighed between 60 and 550 lb.
The largest known species of Dimetrodon limbatus is D. angelensis at 15 feet and the smallest is D. teutonis at 24 in. The larger species of Dimetrodon were among the largest predators of the Early Permian, although the closely related Tappenosaurus, known from skeletal fragments in slightly younger rocks, may have been even larger at an estimated 18 feet in total body length.
A single large opening on either side of the back of the skull links Dimetrodon limbatus with mammals and distinguishes it from most of the earliest sauropsids, which either lack openings or have two openings.
Features such as ridges on the inside of the nasal cavity and a ridge at the back of the lower jaw are thought to be part of an evolutionary progression from early four-limbed land-dwelling vertebrates to mammals.
The skull of Dimetrodon limbatus is tall and compressed laterally, or side-to-side. The eye sockets are positioned high and far back in the skull. Behind each eye socket is a single hole called an infratemporal fenestra.
An additional hole in the skull, the supratemporal fenestra, can be seen when viewed from above. The back of the skull is oriented at a slight upward angle, a feature that it shares with all other early synapsids. The upper margin of the skull slopes downward in a convex arc to the tip of the snout.
The tip of the upper jaw, formed by the premaxilla bone, is raised above the part of the jaw formed by the maxilla bone to form a maxillary “step.” Within this step is a diastema, or gap in the tooth row. Dimetrodon limbatus skull was more heavily built than a dinosaur’s.
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|Dimensions||13 × 8 × 9 in|
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