Platyhystrix

Name: Platyhystrix‭ (‬Flat porcupine‭)‬.
Phonetic: Plat-e-hiss-tricks.
Named By: Williston‭ ‬-‭ ‬1911.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Amphibia,‭ ‬Temnospondyli,‭ ‬Euskelia,‭ ‬Dissorophoidea,‭ ‬Dissorophidae.
Species: P.‭ ‬rugosus.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: 1‭ ‬meter long.
Known locations: USA,‭ ‬Texas.
Time period: Early to middle Permian.
Fossil representation: ‭Enough remains are known to enable reconstruction.

       Platyhystrix stands out from the other amphibians of its group by possessing a sail on its back similar to the pelycosaurs Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus.‭ ‬It is uncertain why Platyhystrix developed this sail,‭ ‬but the genus may have been adapting to a similar reason as the aforementioned pelycosaurs,‭ ‬indeed,‭ ‬their fossils and those of Platyhystrix have been discovered in Permian aged rocks from the same‭ ‬area of the United States.‭
       Maybe the sail formed a thermoregulatory function allowing Platyhystrix to control body temperature,‭ ‬cooling off during the midday heat,‭ ‬or warming up early to hunt more sluggish cold blooded animals.‭ ‬Perhaps the sail served a display function,‭ ‬perhaps even allowing it to‭ ‘‬blend in‭’ ‬amongst the predatory sail-backed pelycosaurs so that they did not mistake Platyhystrix for prey.‭ ‬We don’t‭ ‬know for certain at this stage,‭ ‬but it‭’‬s equally possible that the sail may have served more than one purpose.
       Platyhystrix as an animal was a small squat quadrupedal predator that would have hunted small animals such as reptiles,‭ ‬synapsids and other amphibians.‭ ‬This is confirmed by the teeth,‭ ‬which although numerous,‭ ‬are small,‭ ‬better for gripping small animals.

Further reading
- Skull of the Lower Permian Dissorophid amphibian Platyhystrix rugosus. - Annals of the Carnegie Museum, v. 50, article 17. - David S. Berman, Robert Reisz & Michael A. Fracasso - 1981.



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