Thursday, September 08, 2011


 Called “Boomerang Head” in some circles, Diplocaulus is one of the oddest looking fossils ever found.  Living during the Permian Period, this Amphibian looked like an amour-plated banana.  Discovered in 1878, Diplocaulus has flummoxed the best scientific minds since about her head.
            Why does Diplocaulus has such an oddly shaped head?  When first born, She has a normal shaped head much like a Salamander’s.  Only when Diplocaulus reaches adulthood, does her skull grow into its distinctive shape of a boomerang.
            One prevailing theory is that the banana shape acts like a hydrofoil.  Diplocaulus spends much of her time at the bottoms of lakes and rivers.  Since her eyes are on the top of her skull, She watches for tasty Insects at the water’s surface.  Lifting her head, Diplocaulus can swiftly fly to the surface and hunt.  The head acts like a set of wings for her.
            However, was this true reason for her “wings”?  There are other more conventional reasons for having a banana head.  The oldest Diplocaulus had the biggest heads.  What was this old-timer’s club?  Were They the oldest Bulls retelling their mating battles or were they the Matriarchs discussing their children?  No one really knows for sure.
            What people do know is that Diplocaulus was incredibly strong.  The side to side locomotion of her head propelled Her through the water.  Moreover, swinging her long tail powered Her in her swimming.
            While people argue over her head, Diplocaulus swims on unconcerned.  She asks us not to take things so seriously.  Laugh out loud at her banana head.  She does not care.  She asks us, “Does it matter about the shape of my head?”  Embrace whimsy.  Imagine all sorts of silly reasons for having a head shaped like a boomerang.  I think Diplocaulus decided to be a banana moving through the water simply to amuse Herself.  While scientists debate on the reasons for her oddly shaped head, Diplocaulus swims through the waters of the Permian Period unconcerned.

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