Where cattle graze and the buffalo roamed, dinosaurs once held dominion

Dimetrodon at the Whiteside Museum of Natural History. (Photo by Judy Wade)

By Judy Wade 

If the idea that dinosaurs once lived in North Texas is hard for you to wrap your mind around, Whiteside Museum of Natural History at 310 N. Washington in Seymour has the proof. In fact, most of the pre-historic creatures’ fossilized remains were found within five miles of Seymour in part of what is known as the Permian Basin.

In the Hall of Paleontology, a Dimetrodon, a mammal-type reptile sporting a large fin on its back, greets you near the door. Known as “the terrible lizard,” this creature roamed Baylor County approximately 287 million years ago and was one of the largest of its day. Dimetrodon literally means “two types of teeth.” In front are two large fangs (canines) followed by numerous small teeth called post-canines.

To the right is the Edaphosaurus, brilliantly white with an upright sail on its back. It grew to 12 feet long and weighed as much as 600 pounds. It is much like the Dimetrodon, which was a carnivore, while Edaphosaurus was a herbivore, and was possibly hunted and eaten by the Dimetrodon.

To the left is a menacing looking Diadectes with a tremendously wide rib cage required to eat massive amounts of vegetation. A crosswise biter, it has peg-like front teeth and large molars. Its strong limbs and shovel-shaped claws were used to dig burrows.
The Eryops was a carnivore. Eryops mean “drawn out face” because so much of its skull is in front of its eyes. Its body was low to the ground and supported by short massive legs.

The crowning glory of the room, however, is the massive head of Tyrannosaurus Rex seeming to crash through the wall. Known as the King of the Dinosaurs, it seems to be adorned with feathers that are actually hair-like structures covering its face, head and chin but resemble everything from fur to porcupine quills.

To read more pick up a copy of the June 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.