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Artist's rendering of Seymouria baylorensis - Early Land-dwelling AnimalSeymouria baylorensis
Early Land-dwelling Vertebrate

Skeleton
TMM 43291-1
Clear Fork Formation, Permian
Baylor County, Texas


Seymouria was a small animal that lived roughly 280 million years ago in Texas and adjacent regions.  It was a land-dwelling animal that lived in what were then arid regions of North Texas.  It is an important fossil for paleontologists because it is probably a close relative of both the lineage that include today’s mammals and the lineage that includes living reptiles.  This early, distant part of the family tree of land animals is not well understood, so Seymouria has received a lot of attention by scientists who are trying to reconstruct the tree of life. 

With short limbs and a thick body, Seymouria was not very agile or very fast.  To move around on land, it probably relied on undulating its backbone from side to side, using its limbs as props against the ground.  It was probably cold-blooded and had a rather small brain.  Judging from its teeth, it may have had a varied diet, subsisting primarily on insects, small vertebrates, and carrion. 

The specimen buried in the Dino Pit was collected in 1917 from near the famous Craddock Bone Bed by paleontologists from the US National Museum of Natural History, a part of the Smithsonian Institution.  The original specimen (USNM 9140) has been periodically placed on display in Washington DC.

 

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Comments | Last update: 07/07/14