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November 3 2013

Finned Monster Bit Heads Off Ancient Amphibians

DENVER Talk about a creature feature: A bizarre boomerang-headed amphibian that burrowed in a seasonal pond in what is now Texas often met its doom in the jaws of a reptilian fin-backed mammalian ancestor, new fossils reveal.

These two weird critters were residents of the Permian period 298 million to 250 million years ago, before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Dimetrodon, the jaguar-size finback, looked like a lizard but was actually more closely related to modern mammals. Diplocaulus, the boomerang-head, was a truly strange amphibian with an impractically wide, bony skull.

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