Meet your great-great-great uncle "Wet Willi" the Dimetrodon

by Anonymous on Dec. 15th, 2010

Dimetrodons: Royal Tyrell Museum
Dimetrodons: Royal Tyrell MuseumCourtesy D'Arcy Norman
Speaking of the Permian (see JGordon's post down yonder) a team of paleontologists led by the legendary Bob Bakker from the Houston Museum of Natural Science has uncovered the nearly complete skeletal remains of an iconic sail-backed reptile known as Dimetrodon. The prehistoric predator is often mistaken for a dinosaur but is in fact a primitive mammal-like reptile, a branch that split off from other vertebrates some 310 million years ago. This makes Wet Willi a very, very, very distant relative to all mammals living today, including us humans. Basically, vertebrates are divided into three categories depending on how many major fenestrae (holes to lighten the skull and for muscle attachment) are located in the cranium. The basic three types are anapsids (no holes), synapsids (one hole), and diapsids (two holes). Turtles are an example of the first type, mammals the second, and most reptiles (including dinosaurs) the third. The new Dimetrodon remains were discovered in the Texas Red Beds in the north-central part of the state. He was named Wet Willi in honor paleontologist S. W. Williston who quarried in the same fossil rich site a century ago.

SOURCE
LiveScience.com

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Graphics's picture
Graphics says:

Congrats on the discovery! Hope the excavation is going well !
Nice critter. I am so impressed.

posted on Thu, 12/16/2010 - 3:07am

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