Dimetrodon fossils predates even the first dinosaurs by a good 30 million years. They were something that came before their more famous cousins. they were not actually dinosaurs but rather something different to both reptiles, dinosaurs, and even mammals which they have been compared to before. let take a look at some of the dimetrodon facts that we do know below.
So Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur. However it lived even before they ever walked the earth, ite appearances is certainly dinosaur like but for years scientists have assured us it was not one. They have said it sits above reptiles and mammals and has features of both. So when we look at this animal that is very easily mistaken for a dinosaur, are we in fact looking at our own very very distance relative? lets take a look at some Dimetrodon facts and see.
Dimetrodon Quick Facts
- Dimetrodon was a kind of primitive mammal. ( it is sometimes called a proto mammal) which were the animals that came before us, the mammals. They also came before the dinosaurs.
- Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur!
- Dimetrodon could be from under 1 metres to 4.6 metres long and weigh from 56 to 500 lbs
- The smallest known dimetrodon was just 24 inches long, and the longest over 15 ft long.
- Dimetrodons sail, was used mostly for gaining and releasing heat, and also possibly as a display to other as attractions or as a warning.
- Dimetrodon was a carnivore and probably its ecosystems apex predator eating fish. amphibians and reptiles.
- Fossils have been found that can be aged from 295 to 272 million years ago.
- Dimetrodon has 4 syllables and can be said like this Die – met- Tro – don
24 Facts about the Dimetrodon.
1. What was Dimetrodon?
Dimetrodon was a kind of primitive mammal. ( it is sometimes called a proto mammal) which were the animals that came before us, the mammals. They also came before the dinosaurs. Which, much to a lot of peoples surprise Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur! it as been called a mammal like reptile! however that is not 100% accurate either, The scientific name is a pelycosaur,
2. How big was the Dimetrodon?
Dimetrodon could be from 60 cm to 4.6 metres long and weigh from 56 to 500 lbs depending on the species of dimetrodon and had a huge “sail” on its back that may have served as a heat regulator.
3: How heavy was the Dimetrodon?
Dimetrodon weighed between 28 and 250 kg (60 and 550 lb.) on the most commonly found species. However some were as small as 60 cm (24 inches) long and would have weighed just a few pounds. .
4. How long was the Dimetrodon?
The smallest know dimetrodon was just 24 inches long, and the longest over 15 ft long. There may have been larger members of the dimetrodon family but they are only known from small parts of fossils. It could certainly grow pretty big!
5. What was the sail for on Dimetrodons back
it is thought that the sail, which was made of stretched pieces of dimetrodons back bone was used mostly for gaining and releasing heat, and also possibly used as a display to other as attractions or a warning.
6. How big was a Dimetrodons head?
it was a pretty big head for the body, up to 60cm long.
7. How Tall was Dimetrodon
At the top of the sail, which is where most of its height came from it could have been up to 6-7 feet tall. Kinda like a sail backed komodo dragon, but quite a lot bigger!
8. How fast could the Dimetrodon Run?
Scientists have only been able to guess the actual speed of Dimetrodon, and these guesses based on current lizards like komodo dragon and others ( kinda similar walks) has been a maximum of 20 miles an hour ( 32kph) for short bursts but likely slower.
8. Was Dimetrodon the Oldest Dinosaur
Dimetrodon was a type of prehistoric reptile known as a pelycosaur that existed during the Permian epoch, roughly 35 million years before the dinosaurs really fully appeared. So while it is certainly old, it is not the oldest dinosaur, as it is not a dinosaur! The oldest known dinosaur is the Nyasasaurus parringtoni which at 243 million years old is not much younger than Dimetrodon.
9. What did a Dimetrodon eat?
Dimetrodon was a carnivore and probably its ecosystems apex predator eating fish. amphibians and reptiles. It has had two sets of sharp teeth for biting and cutting.
10. How long was a Dimetrodon tail?
Dimetrodon’s tail iis actually pretty long, however for a lot of years, and if you look in early books you can see this, it was thought not to have a tail as the fossils had never been found for it. However more recent discoveries have been found that allow us to estimate the dimetrodons tail would have been about 1.2-1.5 meters in a large dimetrodon or 30 % of its length.
11. What movies has Dimetrodon been in?
Although a monument of Dimetrodon is shown in Benjamin Lockwood’s museum in the Lockwood Manor in Jurassic world: Fallen Kingdom, the Dimetrodon itself not appear in movies .
However, and we will update as we find out, it is heavily rumoured to appear in the Jurassic World Dominion Movie released on June the 10th. ( we have tickets for the first showing!) We hope so!
12. When did the Dimetrodon become extinct?
Dimetrodon likely became extinct 252 million years ago, during the massive Permian extinction that occurred just before the Mesozoic era. Fossils have been found that can be aged from 295 to 272 million years ago.
13. Could the Dimetrodon Swim?
Dimetrodon was able to survive on both land and water. though whether it could swim well is unknown. it has been found to have eaten freshwater sharks and other fish so it appeared to be at home in at least shallow waters for sure.
14. Which Museums have a Dimetrodon
Harvard Museum of Natural History, The New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology, and American Museum of Natural History has the skeleton of Dimetrodon.
15. What does the name dimetrodon mean
Dimetrodon means “two measurements of teeth” It was named as its front teeth were much larger than its following teeth. this is not particularly unusual for fossilized animals dinosaur or otherwise, however it was one of the first to be found, so we can excuse the name. personally we would have named it massive sailed non dinosaur!
As with a lot of these named it sounds cooler in Greek than it does in English! Check out the meaning of Allosaurus for proof of this !
16. How many dimetrodons species are there
There have been 13 different types of Dimetrodon discovered so far. As we mentioned above these ranged in size from 2 ft long (Dimetrodon teutonis to 15ft long. Dimetrodon grandis. The first one was named by Edward Cope in the 1870s.
17. was the dimetrodon warm or cold blooded.
Dimetrodon was in all likelihood a coldblooded animal, despite being related ( very VERY distantly) to mammals it looks like it didn’t give us that particular feature. its sail would have been used to both gather and lose heat as it needed to throughout the day.
18: Where were Dimetrodon fossils discovered?
Its remains have been discovered in Texas and Oklahoma in United States, Nova Scotia, Canada and all over Europe. Dimetrodon is likely to have been well adopted to a wide range of habitats. Its first discovery was in 1845 in canada, but as it was mistaken for another dinosaur it this wasn’t realized until 2015.
19: Who discovered the Dimetrodon?
Although the first dimetrodon fossils were discovered In 1845 in Canada by Donald Mcleod, this wasn’t recognised until 2015 as a species of dimetrodon. So most discoveries are listed in the 1870s by Edward cope.
20: Who named the Dimetrodon?
Edward Drinker Cope, an American Paleontologist was the first to study Dimetrodon in 1870s, which is when it was named.
21: Did the Dimetrodon lay eggs?
The accurate answer is we don;t know. there are examples of reptiles that give birth to live young, and mammals that lay eggs, with dimetrodon being somewhere in between and not the same as either until we find nests or eggs we can only guess.
Dimetrodon coloring pages, and other dinosaur coloring pages can be downloaded from the link above.
22: How many teeth did Dimetrodon have?
Dimetrodons teeth differed from reptiles. they had two different types, ones to stab and ones to cute and liek albertosaurus they were very finely serrated. Judging from almost complete skull fossils of dimetrodon it is possible to count over 50 teeth of various sizes.
24: Is Dimetrodon Related to humans?
bear with us, this takes a little explaining….
As odd as it sounds the sail backed dinosaur looking Dimetrodon is actually a very very distance relation to you, to people, to all of us. it may look very different to any mammal we know of but the classification is actually in its skull. ( Science bit coming up) More details here.
If it has one hold to attach mouth muscles to it was called a synapsid, it had two like dinosaurs did it was called a diapsid. The name is not that important for us, but the meaning is. if it had one hole for those mouth muscles it belongs to the same family as mammals, which is our family. So now you are looking at a long lost cousin!
Inviting them round for tea might not be a great idea though!
24. How to pronounce Dimetrodon?
Dimetrodons looks more difficult to say and pronounce than it is. It has just four syllables and is said like this Die – met- Tro – don
So the old saying goes if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck then its probably a duck. Well Dimetrodon was the exception to that rule, it looked like a dinosaur, it lived millions of years ago, but it wasn’t a dinosaur. It was even earlier than they were.
though we feel it still deserves a place on the site just like all the other “not dinosaurs” we cover like the swimming dinosaurs and the flying dinosaurs ( not dinosaurs) . they still were awesome animals, and these ones maybe just maybe will give us a glimpse into own own very distant pasts as well!
If you would like to more about all the dinosaurs both big and small then you can click on the big button below this which takes you to our article list. There are loads of different herbivore and carnivore pages there to keep you busy and keep you learning. If you want to do something a little more creative we also have coloring pages and facts sheets to download
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.