Project 845: C. D. Shelton, P. M. Sander, K. Stein, H. Winkelhorst. 2013. Long bone histology indicates sympatric species of Dimetrodon (Lower Permian, Sphenacodontidae). Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 103 (3-4):217-236.
Specimen: † Dimetrodon natalis (Uni-Bonn:IPBSH-11)


The Briar Creek Bonebed (Artinskian, Nocona Formation) in Archer County is one of the richest sources of Dimetrodon bones in the Lower Permian of Texas, USA. Based on size, a small (D. natalis), an intermediate (D. booneorum), and a large species (D. limbatus) have been described from this locality. It has been proposed that these traditionally recognised species represent an ontogenetic series of only one species. However, the ontogenetic series hypothesis is inconsistent with the late ontogenetic state of the small bones, as suggested by their osteology and degree of ossification. Histological analysis of newly excavated material from the Briar Creek Bonebed has resolved some of the discretion between these two competing hypothesis, confirming the coexistence of a small (D. natalis) with at least one larger Dimetrodon species. An external fundamental system is present in the largest sampled long bones identified as D. natalis. The histology of D. natalis postcrania is described as incipient fibro lamellar bone. This tissue is a combination of parallel-fibred and woven-fibred bone that is highly vascularised by incipient primary osteons. The species status of D. booneorum and D. limbatus remain unresolved.

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Project DOI: 10.7934/P845,
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    Authors' Institutions

    • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (University of Bonn)


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    Christen Shelton
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    Maureen Admin
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