Seymouria Baylorensis

seymouriaAs early as 1882 there were fossils found outside of Seymour by Charles H. Sternberg as the result of a contract he had with Harvard University to send them crates of fossils. That August he found the red beds on the Craddock ranch that had been described by Professor Cummins of Harvard.

Mr. Sternberg hunted fossils the in area for many years. While on a hunt for new fossil beds with Mr. Tom Craddock, Sternberg discovered a new cave (thick with rattlesnakes and thus left unexplored) and a bowl of land that he described as iridescent. While in that “bowl” he collected many fossilized bones and packed them away. Although the fossils were sent to Harvard, Mr. Sternberg also corresponded with Dr. Broili, the curator of the museum in Munich, Germany.

Dr. T. E. White of Harvard found the boxes of bones in 1939. He discovered in those boxed 9 individual specimens, although they were not complete.

Mr. Broili made the journey to Seymour to look at the fossil beds. After a prolonged period of time he recognized that it was a rare find. He is credited with naming the creature the “Seymouria baylorensis”, due to bones being found in Seymour, Baylor County.

Seymouria is about 32-inches long. It is the “missing link” between amphibians and reptiles. It is unknown whether they had scales or slick skin. Seymouria was a small land dwelling animal that lived about 280 million years ago during the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era and moved about by undulating its backbone from side to side. It was probably cold-blooded and had a small brain. It is very much debated if Seymouria is an amphibian or reptile. Many believe it to be a very evolved amphibian. Seymouria was probably an omnivore that ate insects, small vertebrates and carrion.

Information from “Salt Pork to Sirloin, The History of Baylor County from 1878 to Present, volume 2” and the Austin Nature and Science Center.

Picture courtesy of Paleontological Museum of Oslo, Norway.