A mounted Dimetrodon skeleton. Photos taken in 2005 at the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Dimetrodon is often mistaken for a dinosaur, but it pre-dates the earliest known dinosaurs by about 40 million years — and it’s actually more closely related to mammals.

Although its large sail is often explained as a heat-regulating structure, recent studies suggest it might have had a role in sexual selection.

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