Fun Diplocaulus Facts For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Jan 31, 2024 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Here are some interesting Diplocaulus facts that will allow you to travel through time!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Diplocaulus is an amphibian genus that is a part of the ancient history of the Earth. This fish-eating animal had short legs and a long tail, but those features hardly pass as interesting, do they? Well, this animal happens to be one of those in history that gives us something to think about. Why, you ask? That is because the Diplocaulus' head was shaped like a boomerang!

Keep reading ahead to follow this animal through its evolution to extinction!

For more relatable content, check out Palaeosaurus facts and Ornithosuchus facts.

Diplocaulus Interesting Facts

Was the Diplocaulus a dinosaur?

The Diplocaulus (meaning double caul ) was a genus of lepospondyl amphibians that lived on earth long before the evolution of dinosaurs. Hence, this boomerang-shaped animal cannot be classified as a dinosaur.

How do you pronounce 'Diplocaulus'?

The name of this animal would be pronounced as 'dih-plo-call-us'.

What type of prehistoric animal was a Diplocaulus?

This prehistoric animal was an amphibian. The fact that fossil remains attributed to the Diplocaulus have been found in the Late Permian of Morocco make it one of the earliest amphibians whose existence we know of.

In which geological period did the Diplocaulus live?

The geological period during which the Diplocaulus is known to have existed was the late Carboniferous to late Permian period. If you happen to be wondering how long ago that would be, you will definitely be astounded to know that the Diplocaulus existed no less than 251-298 million years ago! The most widely acknowledged timeline of their existence, however, is considered to have been around 270 million years ago!

This animal has been made very popular through some misinformation on social media, and it has been wrongly claimed that they are still alive, however, it is quite clear through research that these predators became extinct millions of years ago.

When did the Diplocaulus become extinct?

The exact timeline as to when this amphibian may have become extinct is not known through any relevant research. However, it may be concluded that if these amphibians managed to live on the surface of the Earth until the end of the Permian period, they would have become extinct around 251 million years ago - when the Permian age came to an end.

Where did a Diplocaulus live?

The habitat of the Diplocaulus is likely to have consisted of lakes, rivers, and other water bodies since the genus is known to have been amphibious.

It is also interesting to note that the boomerang-shaped head of these animals may have also been used to skim the surface of the water body that they inhabited.

What was a Diplocaulus's habitat?

Since the fossil remains of this extinct amphibian have been found in places such as North America and Africa, it can hardly be said that the Diplocaulus was endemic to a specific area. The fossil remains that were found in Morocco, in fact, also made this one of the very first amphibians that are known to have been a part of the ecosystem millions of years ago.

Who did a Diplocaulus live with?

The society in which the Diplocaulus lived is something that has not been extensively researched as yet. Also, since it is not common to come across more than one fossil of the animal in a specific area, it is made clear that this genus and similar genera would not have lived in large groups.

However, since there are no pieces of evidence that the boomerang-shaped head or long tail of this amphibian would be used for attacking, it may be assumed that the Diplocaulus (double caul) was not necessarily hostile towards other animals.

How long did a Diplocaulus live?

The average lifespan of this boomerang-shaped extinct creature is not known to us through any relevant research. Neither is there any sufficient information regarding the number of years that these animals may have lived on the surface of the Earth.

How did they reproduce?

Amphibians all around the world are known to have been oviparous. Additionally, since the type species as well as the other recognized species of this creature are known to have belonged to the class Reptilomorpha, it becomes clear that this creature would breed by laying eggs.

While we hardly have any information regarding the nesting period or the number of eggs that were laid in each season, we do know that the boomerang-shaped head of this popular animal was probably used for attracting mates through head-butting!

Diplocaulus Fun Facts

What did a Diplocaulus look like?

The name Diplocaulus means 'double stalks'.

The most distinctive feature of this animal is its short, wide, and boomerang-shaped head!

As absurd as it may sound, this shape was actually very beneficial for the animal as it made sure that the Diplocaulus was not easily preyed upon. Apart from this, the bones of this amphibian suggest that it had short legs and a long tail, which would help it to move quickly.

How many bones did a Diplocaulus have?

The total number of bones that were present in the body of a Diplocaulus is not known to us. However, since this species is known to have had a short body and long tail, it may be concluded that they would not have had a large number of bones, as dinosaurs did.

How did they communicate?

It is noted by many paleontologists that the head and tail of the species may have been used for communication - which is a practice that is commonly seen in many modern-day species of animals as well. While the head and its movements were probably very important for communication within the genus, paleontologists are yet to understand if the genus had any other means of communication as well.

How big was a Diplocaulus?

The average length of a Diplocaulus, from head to tail, is estimated to have been around 1-3 ft (0.3-0.9 m). As you can tell, these animals were not the largest that are known to us from prehistoric times.

How fast could a Diplocaulus move?

Based on the long tail and boomerang-like head of these animals, paleontologists suggest that Diplocaulus may have been very quick when it came to movement. It is likely that the creature used its head as a hydrofoil and skimmed the surface of the water, while it used its tail to navigate and move up and down.

How much did a Diplocaulus weigh?

The average weight of Diplocaulus, as noted by scientists, is estimated to have been around 20-60 lb (9.07-27.2 kg). While the fossil remains of the animal may let you think that it was short and light-weighted, the Diplocaulus was actually quite heavy!

What were the male and female names of the species?

Unfortunately, there are no distinct names for the two sexes of the Diplocaulus, and hence, we have decided to refer to them as the male Diplocaulus and female Diplocaulus respectively.

It is also worthy to note that there are no pieces of evidence that would suggest morphological differences between the two sexes of this shallow-water amphibian.

What would you call a baby Diplocaulus?

The juvenile Diplocaulus (meaning double caul) would be called a hatchling, mainly because it would hatch out of small eggs - since the genus was oviparous!

What did they eat?

Known to have been predators, these animals lived on a diet that consisted mainly of fish. Paleontologists assumed that they would catch fishes from the lower level of shallow water bodies, with the help of the unique shape of the head. The skull would also be accommodating for the large fishes that may be caught.

How aggressive were they?

It is quite unlikely, given the shape of the skull, the short legs, and the narrow tail of this animal that it would be quick to become aggressive towards any animal. Being an amphibian of average size and short legs, the Diplocaulus would not only be peaceful but also try to save itself from predatory animals.

Did you know...

The wide skull of the Diplocaulus is most interesting for its boomerang-like shape and double cauls or stalks.

These animals existed much before the evolution of dinosaurs, and are placed around 270 million years ago. The first Diplocaulus specimen established it as one of the first lepospondyls to have existed.

Some paleontologists assumed that the head would be used as a hydrofoil!

The most number of fossil remains of this species have been in Texas, North America.

What is Diplocaulus good for?

Diplocaulus was a genus of very interesting animals - mostly because of the wide and double stalked head. Based on research, the head of this animal was exceptionally cleverly evolved in order to avoid predators.

Who discovered Diplocaulus?

The fossil remains of the Diplocaulus were first discovered by William Gurley in Illinois.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Rhomaleosaurus facts and Coryphodon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Diplocaulus coloring pages.

Diplocaulus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small fish, insects

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

20-60 lb (9.07-27.2 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

1-3 ft (0.3-0.9 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Diplocaulus salamandroides

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Rivers, lakes

Where Did They Live?

North America, Africa
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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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