Diplocaulus’s life including courtship and mating was spent underwater

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Sex is not all melody. Pushing and shoving, intimidation, have their place too. Frog suitors often try to kick their rivals off the back of a female in the mating pond.(mechanical dinosaur) The rhinoceros iguana lizard of Cuba indulges in male-male wrestling contests. Males push each other with their snouts, grab loose skin in their teeth, and may clamp on each other’s mouths in what is technically known as jaw wrestling. Not many living amphibians have specialized organs for sexual wrestling, but among the Coal Age fossils there is one spectacular case.

 

Most amphibian skulls are designed quite straightforwardly. (animatronic dinosaur factory)With few exceptions, they can be explained in terms of jaw muscles, bracing for teeth, sucking in prey underwater, or other purely dietary needs. But diet can’t explain the most grotesque amphibians skull ever evolved the boomerang-shaped head of Diplocaulus (“two-tailed,” a reference to its double-spined tail bones).

 

The jaws, teeth, and face of this animal were quite “normal”; its snout was flat top to bottom and its eye sockets faced directly upward. The animal was probably a pond and stream predator, lying in ambush on the murky bottom, awaiting unwary prey. (animatronic dinosaur)This was an ecological role that evolved many times in separate amphibian tribes. Probably all of Diplocaulus’s life including courtship and mating was spent underwater. Its young exhibited standard cranial geometry for the role of bottom-predator: a generally wide, rounded skull without significant protuberances. But as it grew into adolescence, a transformation carried it into an exceedingly un-usual development of the skull. The rear corners grew outward at great speed. (dinosaur costume)Well before it was fully adult, its skull had become twice as wide as it was long. And even faster grew the hornlike devices at the extreme ends, until at maturity the head was finally four to six times wider than long. Viewed from the top, these heads resembled nothing so much as organically grown boomerangs.