(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have determined the mass of two types of temnospondylia that lived in the Permian and Triassic periods.
Temnospondylia are a group of extinct amphibians that lived between 330 and 120 million years ago. They remotely resembled modern crocodiles, but had completely different head shapes and body proportions.
Estimating the mass of extinct animals is a difficult task, because we cannot weigh them as a living being, the authors of the work explain.
We only have fossils representing the bones of an animal, and in order to understand what its skin and fat looked like, it is necessary to analyze living representatives of related animal species.
Eryops megacephalus, 1.8 meters long, lived during the Permian period in what is now the United States, while the slightly longer Paracyclotosaurus davidi is known from deposits of the Triassic period in Australia.
To calculate the weight of the two species, the authors used mathematical equations and three-dimensional models of creatures.
Paracyclotosaurus, the more submersible, was the heaviest of the two, at around 260 kg, while Eryops was the more modest 160 kg.
“The size of an animal is important for many aspects of its life,” the scientists say. “It affects what they eat, how they move, and even how they cope with cold temperatures.
So, naturally, paleontologists are interested in calculating the body mass of extinct creatures so that we can learn more about how they lived.”
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