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PALEOZOIC ERA

CARBONIFEROUS PERIOD

318-300 million years ago

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PELYCOSAUR

The vertebral column of sphenacodont pelycosaurs developed stronger centra and the intercentra were further reduced.

All sphenacodonts had tall neural spines on their vertebrae and this reached extreme lengths in species such as Dimetrodon. The sail made of these neural spines may have functioned in both thermoregulation and display. Sphenacodonts still retained the pineal opening of the skull and the ribs still had 2 heads. Haptodus of early Permian still retains most of ophiacondont characteristics (Kemp, 1982; Carroll, 1988).