Diplocaulus  magnicornis


Diplocaulus magnicornis Cope, 1882 skull from the Lower Permian of Baylor County, northern Texas, USA (“UC 637”, ex-University of Chicago, now housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA).  This fossil amphibian is remarkable for its long, bony, posterolateral extensions of the skull.  Diplocaulus has been interpreted as an entirely aquatic amphibian.  The oddly-shaped skull was apparently used, when tilted, to help the creature surface rapidly while swimming.  The skull shape also acts to prevent predators from consuming Diplocaulus whole.

In the 1960s, a remarkable concentration of hundreds of Diplocaulus remains was collected from a single locality in the Permian Vale Formation of Texas, USA, representing a drought-concentration of animals in a dried-out river channel (see Dalquest & Mamay, 1963 - Journal of Geology 71: 641-644).

Classification: Animalia, Chordata, Vertebrata, Amphibia, Lepospondyli, Nectridea, Keraterpetontidae



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