Prehistoric Predators: Fossil Findings in Seymour 'Redefining'

Prehistoric Predators: Fossil Findings in Seymour 'Redefining'

Whiteside Museum of Natural History Director Christopher Flis wants to introduce Texoma to Mary and Jody.

They're not volunteers, and in fact, they're not even people. Mary and Jody are the prehistoric predators volunteers in Seymour are discovering.

A number of paleontologists have searched north of Seymour for fossils, but only the Whiteside Museum thought to look south of town. They hit the jackpot, finding full skeletons of Dimetrodon and Diadectes right next to each other. 

Mary is a fin-back Dimetrodon, and Jody is a Diadectes. According to Flis, finding two different fossil skeletons right next to each other is extremely rare. 

"It's very special. It tells an incredible story. Dimetrodon is eating somebody, and at the same time, she's being eaten," Flis explained. "And Diadectes is also here. So, it tells us a ton about the ecosystem 290 million years ago."

Without this discovery in Baylor County, the hotbed of Permian Age fossils across the globe, scientists would not have realized Dimetrodons actually lived this far south.     

The skull that Flis and his team found of the Diadectes is one of the most complete skulls ever recorded in history. while Dimetrodon was a carnivore, Diadectes is the first big land walking herbivore.

The most recent findings at the site are the ribs of another Dimetrodon.  Flis said the Dimetrodons found in Seymour are most likely a completely new species. If that in fact is the case, Flis would get to pick their new name. 

Because of the finds of just this one dig site alone, Whiteside has had to build a larger laboratory to handle all the fossils coming in.

Flis says they'll be digging at the site south of Seymour for years to come.

"Everyone is going to know a whole lot more about who was living here a third of a billion years ago," Flis said. "It's exciting."

"Dino" Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6