I Came Before the Dinosaurs!
Do you ever wonder what came before the dinosaurs? Learn about the first animals to conquer land.
Learn more about the animals from the world-famous Texas Permian Red Beds. The term Permian refers to the age of the red rocks on the surface in Seymour, Texas which date back to more than 287 million years ago. That is roughly 40 Million Years before the first dinosaurs appear!
In this book, paleontologist Holly Simon brings us an incredible story about Permian animals in the point of view as “Abby” theDimetrodon. “Abby” is the first Dimetrodon skeleton Holly ever found in Seymour, Texas.
Abby the Dimetrodon was discovered by Holly Simon in 2016. Abby's skeleton is disarticulated, meaning the bones are no longer in a life position. They have been pulled apart by scavengers after death. The bones with the most muscle are understandably absent, such as the legs and tail where the densest muscles in the body are found. These are the parts that get scavenged first. Find the puncture wound on Abby's skull from another Dimetrodon.
Dimetrodon is a type of “non-mammalian synapsid”. Today, synapsids include all mammals, as well as all animals closely related to mammals, including Dimetrodon. The term synapsid refers to an opening behind each eye. Dinosaurs are diapsids, referring to 2 openings behind each eye. Mammals such as humans, however, have an evolutionarily modified fenestral opening- we don’t have an opening anymore, just a concave portion of bone on the sides of our skull. That shows us where the opening was in our distant ancestors. Ultimately, Dimetrodon is more closely related to mammals, and us, than any other group- but it’s NOT a dinosaur!
Seymouria was first discovered in 1875 and named after the town of Seymour, Texas by Charles Sternberg. While working for Harvard University, Charles Sternberg came across what would be the first fossil evidence of Seymouria. The specimen was labeled as ‘Unknown Reptile No. 1”. The specimen was finally officially assigned a name in 1910.
Learn about Seymouria in Holly Simon's book “ I Came Before the Dinosaurs”.