Dimetrodon had a close relative

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Dimetrodon’s spines generated a hundred years of debate within the paleontological community a great deal of it unnecessary, in my opinion. (dinosaur factory)The learned Edward D. Cope of Philadelphia made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion: the fin on Dimetrodon’s back was a sail to allow it to scud across Permian ponds like a scale-covered racing yacht. Al Romer, who spent a lifetime studying Dimetrodon and related clans, believed the sail worked well as a radiator. (animatronic dinosaur)In the morning, when the creature was cold from the night air, its sail would be turned toward the sun to soak up the warming rays. When the noonday Permian sun became too hot, and Dimetrodon was in danger of overheating, the sail could be turned into the breeze for a cooling effect. Two quantitative paleontologists developed elegant mathematical models to show how blood could flow to and from the skin of Dimetrodon s sail to provide both solar heating and wind cooling.


This heating-cooling hypothesis is widely accepted, but it has weaknesses. The chief problem is that Dimetrodon had a close relative, Spbenacodon, that didn’t have a dorsal sail. Sphenacodon was identical to Dimetrodon in all the details of its anatomy. Only the spines of its back differed. Sphenacodon’s spines were only very slightly elongated. If we accept the heating-cooling theory, it would have to be concluded that Sphenacodon was very different from Dimetrodon in its thermoregulatory adaptation. (dinosaur costume)That implies a most unusual evolutionary development. In today’s ecosystem, closely related species usually exhibit far greater differences in their courtship behavior than in the way they use heat. In other words, evolution usually works faster in changing display behavior than in changing thermoregulation. Several genera of lizards alive to-day include some species with backbone crests and others with no elongation of the spines. Except for the spines, these clusters of closely related species are adaptively very similar.(life size dinosaur for sale) On balance, therefore, it’s far more reasonable to interpret Dimetrodon’s sail as a display for sex and intimidation. It might indeed have been a radiator anything sticking out from the body might be. But the overall pattern of evolution implies that display organs evolve more rapidly into grotesque shapes than do such utilitarian devices as radiators.