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Diplocaulus (meaning "double caul") is an extinct genus of leponspondyl amphibian from the Permian period of North America. Remains from the Late Permian of Morocco represent the youngest known occurrence of a lepospondyl.

It was one of the largest lepospondyls, being up to 1 metre long. The stocky, salamander-like body had a boomerang-shaped skull, due tolong protrusions on the sides of its skull. It had weak limbs and a relatively short tail, so probably swam with an up-and-down movement of its body, rather like whales. The wide head could have acted like a hydrofoil, helping the creature glide through the water. The University of Michigan's exhibit added a sheet of loose skin from the tips of the skull to the base of the tail, which would have moved in an undulating wave for forward motion. Another possibility is that the boomerang shape was defensive, as predators would have a hard time trying to swallow a creature with such a wide head.[1]

1. Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 55. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.


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