This species ruled in the Permian Period – the time just before dinosaurs showed up that ended with history’s most massive known extinction. Discoveries from this period help answer the question “Where did dinosaurs come from?”
Dimetrodon were 7 to 14 feet long, weighed up to 600 pounds and had 4-foot tall fins on their backs. According to Dr. Bakker, you would not want to meet one in a dark alley – “If they were alive, they would look upon you as a food item.”
(c) Robert T. Bakker
Fearsome they may be, but few extinct species are as important than Dimetrodon – its existence represents a key step in earth history. Dimetrodon dominated its world, the largest meat-eater that had ever evolved up to the time. It was strong enough to kill any other land animal.
When Dimetrodon ruled, lizards hadn’t evolved yet, nor turtles, nor snakes. There weren’t any crocodiles, gators, frogs, salamanders, or even flowers. The only plants around were ferns, horsetails or other primitive conifer with dull green leaves.
Dimetrodon femur found by the team in Seymour, TX. Additional objects present for scale.
In fact, it's so old that Dimetrodon has a special spot in human evolution. The Texas Finback is located very close to the base of the mammalian family tree that includes all ‘possums, dogs, and cats, monkeys, apes and humans. So…you can put a portrait of the Texas Finback up on the mantel, next to Grandma and Grandpa.
This plaster jacket covers and protects an associated Dimetrodon skeleton found by the team in Seymour, TX. It has since been removed from the site and taken to the Museum for study.