Cross-section of a labyrinthodont tooth

Ima1 labyrinthodont

cette dent découverte dans le rhétien Lorrain est typique des Labyrinthodontes, on distingue une structure fortement plissée et sinueuse rappelant un labyrinthe d’où le nom. Cette caractéristique est issue des poissons sarcopterygiens ancêtres de ces animaux.
labyrinthodont   tand
Labyrinthodont: teeth (or having teeth) characterized by folded sheets of dentine. Such teeth are common in sarcopterygians and basal tetrapods. A pulp cavity is not always present, and the entire tooth may be filled with folded dentine. An outer enamel layer may also be present.                       See image: cross section of labyrinthodont tooth from Eusthenepteron.
Labyrinthodont tooth Labyrinthodont tooth/Author: Moya Meredith Smith/Sources: Parc national de Miguasha// 1996Cross-section through a tooth from Eusthenopteron foordi. The labyrinth pattern of infolded dentine inside the tooth is a characteristic feature shared by the first tetrapods.

1. Having teeth with a labyrinthine internal structure.
2. Of or relating to the Labyrinthodontia, an extinct group of amphibians having a labyrinthine tooth structure.


De eerste amfibieën waren labyrinthodonten, zij waren de eerste gewervelde dieren die het land op trokken. Hun experiment duurde 160 miljoen jaar, van het Laat-Devoon tot in de vroege Jura. Het was een gedeeltelijk succes. Tijdens de hoogtijperiode in het Vroeg-Perm waren zes van de tien labyrinthodonten volledig aan het leven op het land aangepaste insekteneters. Hierna zette het verval in en aan het eind van de Trias waren ze alle uitgestorven. De labyrinthodonten danken hun naam aan de labyrintvormige plooiing van het tandbeen in hun kegelvormige tanden. Deze tanden lijken sterk op de tanden van de rhipidistespiervinnige vissen. Dit en nog een aantal ander skeletkenmerken hebben paleontologen tot de overtuiging gebracht dat de amfibieën van deze spiervinnige vissen afstammen. De Labyrinthodontia worden opgesplitst in twee goed afgebakende orden – de Temnospondyli en de Anthracosauria. Een derde orde, de Ichthyostegalia – de eerste amfibieën – zijn volgens sommige paleontologen primitieve temnospondylen.



kingdom Animaliaanimals »  phylum Chordatachordates

order Ichthyostegalia Save-Soderbergh, 1932
order Temnospondyli Zittel, 1888
order Anthracosauria Save-Soderbergh, 1934

Labyrinthodontia incertae sedis

superfamily Loxommatoidea

(by  Neal Robbins)   Laccocephalus was a prehistoric amphibian of the Rhinesuchidae family. Fossils of it have been found in the Daptocephalus Zone of the Beaufort beds in the Orange Free State of South Africa. There is some debate about when this creature existed. Carroll said that it lived during the Induan, i.e. the first subperiod of the Triassic. However, Anderson and Cruikshank insist that it was of the late part of the Permian period.

P.S. Laccocephalus was in the same family as these genera:


Range: Late Permian or Early Triassic of South Africa.

Phylogeny: Rhinesuchidae: Rhinesuchus + Uranocentradon + Broomistega + *.

Laccocephalus Watson.
Daptocephalus zone, Beaufort Beds, Orange Free State, South Africa
Age: ? Changhsingian
Place: central Gondwana

Comments: previously included with Uranocentradon in the family Uranocentrodontidae. Carroll lists this genus as early Triassic, but according to Anderson & Cruikshank (1978) it is late Permian. Perhaps it is from the early Changhsingian. (MAK 010423).

Laccosaurus is an extinct genus of prehistoric amphibian.

Salamander   Lissamphibia Caudata Urodela

Holotype fossil (GMV 1602) of Laccotriton subsolanus. From Gao & Shubin, 2001.


Fine form. This juvenile Laccotriton has external gills preserved.

Laidleria from Warren (1998)

Laidleria gracilis - life reconstruction by Dmitry Bogdanov


 Laidleria was a temnospondyl amphibian of the Triassic. The systematic paleontology of it is:
Amphibia Linnaeus 1758
Temnospondyli Zittel 1888
Stereospondyli Zittel 1887
Trematosauria Romer 1947
Plagiosauroidea Abel 1919
Laidleriidae Warren 1998
Laidleria Kitching 1957
Laidleria gracilis Kitching 1957
    Laidleria gracilis was 30-40 cm. (11.8 in.-1.31 ft.) in length. Fossil remains of this amphibian have been found in the Cynognathus Zone in South Africa. They date to the early Triassic.
  This excerpt from Palaeos Vertebrates lists physical characteristics of Laidleria:
Characters: 30-40 cm long. Extremely thin, flat skull forming an equilateral triangle; dental teeth larger than corresponding maxillary teeth; dentary tusks present; maxillary excluded from choana by sutural articulation of palatine and vomer; more than 8 palatine teeth; no denticles on parasphenoid; ventral surface of pterygoid ornamented; ascending ramus of pterygoid ornamented; ascending ramus of pterygoid does not contact squamosal; prefrontal and jugal in sutural contact; orbits behind mid-length of skull; quadratojugal with lateral projection; stapes robust, terminating under a solid section of skull roof, with no possible contact with a tympanum; uniform ornamentation of pits surrounded by ridges; strongly armored and “turtle-like;”, no specialized scutes associated with neural spines.
Anne Warren (1998). Laidleria uncovered: a redescription of Laidleria gracilis Kitching (1957), a temnospondyl from the Cynognathus Zone of South Africa. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 122(1-2): 167-185).
Graciela Pineiro, Claudia Marsicano, and Nora Lorenzo wrote an article titled A NEW TEMNOSPONDYL FROM THE PERMO-TRIASSIC RUENA VISTA FORMATION OF URUGUAY. It was published in 2007 in Palaeontology, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp. 627-640. The abstract is on this link.
    (Neal Robbins)

    Lapillopsis nana  was a temnospondyl amphibian species that lived in Australia during the early Triassic. Fossils of Lapillopsis date to the Olenakian Age (249.7 – 245 million years ago). Those fossils were found in the Arcadia Formation of the Rewan Group in Queensland.
    Lapillopsis is a member of the family Lapillopsidae. The lapillopsids are in the order Limnarchia. It survived the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian.
    One other member of Lapillopsidae has been identified. It is Rotaurisaurus contundo.
These amphibians were small, which was a common trait among temnospondyls of the early Triassic in Australia.
Another temnospondyl was identied from Lower Triassic fossils found in Queensland. It is Nanolania anatopretia. Adam M. Yates wrote an articl about this spcies. It was published in September, 2000 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp. 484-489. The title is A NEW TINY RHYTIDOSTEID (TEMNOSPONDYLI; STEREOSPONDYLI) FROM THE EARLY TRIASSIC OF AUSTRALIA AND THE POSSIBILITY OF HIDDEN TEMNOSPONDYL DIVERSITY. This excerpt from the abstract says:
A new genus and species of stereospondyl temnospondyl, Nanolania anatopretia, is described from the Early Triassic Arcadia Formation (Rewan Group) of Queensland, Australia. N. anatopretia has several character states that suggest it belongs to the group of derived trematosaurian stereospondyls that include the Rhytidosteidae and Brachyopoidea. These include the absence of a lacrimal, an untwisted quadrate ramus of the pterygoid, and a shallow otic notch. It is tentatively referred to the Rhytiodosteidae. N. anatopretia is the third temnospondyl taxon from the Arcadia Formation to be represented by a skull less than 50 mm long.
The others are the basal stereospondyl Lapillopsis nana and juveniles of the capitosaurid Parotosuchus aliciae. Given that Lapillopsis nana and Nanolania anatopretica are not well known from any larger specimens, it is suggested that they are species that never grew large.
    Yates also says that it is apparent that small and large temnospondyls co-existed to a great extent during the Triassic. The small ones included both basal and derived types.
(Neal Robbins)
 The taxonomy of Lapillopsis is:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Subclass: Temnospondyli
Order: Limnarchia
Suborder: Stereospondyli
Family: Lapillopsidae
Genus: Lapillopsis
Species: Lapillopsis nana

Lapillopsis nana

This genus is from Arcadia Formation of Queensland. The description of this genus is based on many small skulls less than 2 cm long. Superficially it resembles micropholids. They lacked sensory-line grooves and had a long-stemmed interclavicle bone beneath the shoulder region. Both these features indicate that Lapillopsis was more adapted for life on land than any other Triassic temnospondyls from the Arcadia Formation.

Some of the diagnostic features of this genus are long jugal bones extending in front of the eyes. There are well-developed tabular horns and large orbits. The latter feature are probably features of immature animals. Sensory-line canals were not well developed. Some think Lapillopsis is closely related to Micropholis from Germany. Others disagree that it is closely related to the dissorophopids, believing it is more closely related to stereospondyls.

Sources & Further reading   John A Long, Dinosaurs of Australia and New Zealand, University of New South Wales Press


Latiscopidae  almasaurus

Leterpeton austriacum  
Czech Republic

Letoverpeton lived before the dinosaurs in the Early to Middle Permian. Little is known of these primitive amphibians, which are extremely rare members of the Discosauriscidae family.

Name: Amphibia: Urodela; Liaoxitriton zhongjiani  Age: Lower Cretaceous, (~125 m.y.a.)  Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): 110 mm long (tip of skull to tip of tail along backbone). Matrix: 296 mm by 60 mm   Location: Huludao City, Jiufotang Formation, Liaoning Province of China

Description: This is a fine positive/negative pair of a rarely seen amphibian; a salamander known as Liaoxitriton zhongjiani. . The species takes its generic name from Liaoxi, the general region from which the specimen comes, while the specific name is for the researcher who first discovered this specimen. The detail is incredible; even more remains to be uncovered (see some of the bones of the forearm). Even a 20 mm partial tail of another unknown vertebrate is present.

Phyletogentic analysis of the Urodeles shows that Asia is the origin of the clade, leading to the hypothesis that the basal salamanders radiated from the region. Some salamanders demonstrate neoteny, or the capability of reproducing while in what is apparently the larval state. Note the soft tissue outlines preserved, and what appears to be gill structures, a telltale that this is not a larval form but a neotenic example.

Neoteny is not all that uncommon among modern-day salamanders (some 40 species in 9 different families demonstrate this strategy), with the Mexican Salamander or Axolotl being a prime example. This means that it retains its gills and fins, and it doesn’t develop the protruding eyes, eyelids and characteristics of other adult salamanders. It grows much larger than a normal larval salamander, and it reaches sexual maturity in this larval stage.

The independent occurrence of neoteny in both Mesozoic and recent groups of salamanders makes parallel evolution of numerous morphological features an enduring feature of their history. An example such as this of the first salamander to be discovered from the Mesozoic in the east Asian region








Ces vertébres sont plates et peuvent appatenir à Metoposaurus.

Grosse dent peut être Metoposaurus ? dans tous les cas un animal de plus de 2 m.

Metoposaurus tand

metaposaurus  fr

(ce crâne de Metoposaurus diagnosticus a été découvert en Pologne a Krasiejowa)


File:Metoposaurus bakeri1DB.jpg

Long bone histology of Metoposaurus diagnosticus (Temnospondyli) from the Late Triassic of Krasiejów (Poland) and its paleobiological implications

This image shows microanatomy of the midshaft of Metoposaurus femur. Credit: Photo by Georg Oleschinski

This is the femur of Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis as viewed from behind (posterior). The sectioned plane is marked by the white stripe. Credit: Photo by Georg Oleschinski.

Read more at:

Metoposaurus diagnosticus

Metoposaurus diagnosticus weighed half a tonne and was 10 feet long, but its environment had only two seasons: wet and dry. It needed water for its lifestyle, but researchers have discovered the extremely long dry season 230 million drove the species to burrow underground and go dormant

The burrowing behaviour of Metoposaurus was recently discovered by Dorota Konietzko-Meier, of the University of Opole in Poland and the University of Bonn in Germany, and Martin Sander, also of the University of Bonn.

Metoposaurus diagnosticus bones

The study examined a cross-sections of Metoposaurus bones which have growth rings, called annuli. The above image shows annuli in femur samples of metoposaurus diagnosticus. A thick inner phase of fast growth is marked by zI and a broad phase of slow growth can be seen in the middle left image (a1)

Metoposaurus diagnosticus

The broad, flat head broad flat arm bones, wide hands, and large tail of Metaposaurus diagnosticus led the investigators to conclude that this species swam in lakes during the wet season


Dr Michel Lauri, from the Musium National d’Histoire Naturelle said: ‘This animal was much larger than any extant burrowing species I know of, and if it dug, I suspect that the snout (pictured) and tail played a far greater role than the limbs, as we observe in most extant aquatic vertebrates’

The Metoposaurus diagnosticus was thought to be a mostly aquatic animal.  It had small limbs, sharp teeth and a large flat head. Its diet was mainly fish which it captured with its wide jaws lined.

Metoposaurus could reach up to 3m (10 feet) long, weighed 454 kg and was one of the last large amphibians.

Many Metoposaurus mass graves have been found. Researchers believe this was probably from creatures that grouped together in drying pools during drought.

Read more:

partial skull of the amphibian Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis

leg bone of Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis

part of the armour of Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis

skull of Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis

Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis Sulej, 2002 – rekonstrukcja
Metoposaurus diagnosticus krasiejowensis Sulej, 2002



Micromelerpeton was een amfibie die in het Onder-Perm leefde in wat nu zuidwest-Duitsland is. Hij behoorde tot de Branchiosauriërs: volwassen amfibieën met de kenmerken van larven, zoals uitwendige kieuwen en niet-verbeende elementen in de pols en enkel. Micromelerpeton kon maximaal 20 cm lang worden. In het Onder-Perm lag Duitsland veel zuidelijker dan tegenwoordig. De gemiddelde temperatuur was tropisch en het klimaat vochtig, ideaal voor amfibieën. De voornaamste vijanden van Micromelerpeton waren vooral Sclerocephalus en zoetwaterhaaien zoals Orthacanthus.

Micromelerpeton from the Permian of Germany with Skin Preservation
6” long amphibian Micromelerpeton Credneri is over 260 million years old from Odenhein, Germany. . Micromelerpeton still probably spent much of its time in water close to the shallow sea bottom.
What makes this specimen so exceptional is its state of preservation. It is virtually complete with the exception of a few hand and foot bones. The 1” arrow shaped skull is complete with even patches of its ornamental skin preserved. The body and tail is covered with carbonized skin impressions some even preserving the texture of the skin. As a bonus there are also two partial amphibians also present on the same 13” x 8” stone slab. The 3” partial also has carbonized skin and is nearly complete missing only its head and 3 legs. The two small jaws with sharp teeth are present near the top of the slab. This is a remarkably detailed and important fossil.

  • Order Microsauria. A large group (at least 30 genera) from Carboniferous and Early Permian North America and Europe of mainly terrestrial amphibians, that are characterized by the reduced number of bones in the skull and the occiput-atlas complex. They show some evolution towards a burrowing life style. Two examples of microsaurs are Tuditanus from Ohio, USA, which had lizard-like proportions and Microbrachis from the Czech republic, which is thought to have become secondarily aquatic.Reconstruction of (a) Tuditanus and (b) Microbrachis, from Benton, 1997


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  • Order Nectridea. A group of aquatic early amphibians from the Late Carboniferous to the Early Permian. Many were newt-like in appearance with long flat tails for swimming, such as Sauropleura from Late Carboniferous Europe and North America. Interesting members of this order are Diplocaulus and Diploceraspis from the Late Carboniferous and Early Permian of the USA, which have expanded skulls with large horns growing out of the sides. The juvenile forms have no horns at all and they enlarge throughout life. The function of the horns is still not understood.




Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Pantylus is an extinct lepospondyl amphibian from the Permian period of North America.Pantylus was probably a largely terrestrial animal, judging from its well-built legs. It was about 25 centimetres (10 in) long, and resembled a lizard with a large skull and short limbs. It had numerous blunt teeth, and probably chased after invertebrate prey.

Paracyclotosaurus davidi fossil.

The only known example of Paracyclotosaurus davidi,an amphibian that lived in Australia around 235 million years ago.The type specimen of Paracyclotosaurus is the only example of a complete articulated skeleton of a capitosaur, one of the major groups of Triassic temnospondyl amphibians.


  • Phlegethontia      Phlegethontia, an aistopod from the Pennsylvanian.


Les vertébres ont un centra cylindrique. Sur la face dorsale on peut observer une rainure centrale bordée par les facettes d’insertions des arcs neuraux.

v1plagiosauridae    v2plagiosauridae
 Ces vertébres peuvent appartenir à Plagiosaurus ou a Gerrothorax deux animaux aux crânes particuliers


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Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Roodgekleurd merg ontdekt in fossielen Spaans amfibieën

Het fossiele skelet van de kikker Rana pueyoi.Een donkerbruine biofilm markeert de plaats waar zacht weefsel aanwezig was.
Michiel van Nieuwstadt

Tien miljoen jaar oud beenmerg is ontdekt in fossiele kikkers (Rana pueyoi) en salamanders (Triton) die zijn gevonden in het noordoosten van Spanje.

Volgens een team van Spaanse en Ierse wetenschappers is het beenmerg (weefsel aan de binnenkant van grote botten waar de meeste bloedcellen worden aangemaakt) bewaard gebleven in zijn oorspronkelijke toestand. Zelfs de oorspronkelijke rode kleur is nog te zien. (Geology, augustus 2006).

De ontdekking is een nieuwe aanwijzing dat kwetsbare, zachte weefsels in fossielen beter bewaard kunnen blijven dan lang is aangenomen. Voor wetenschappers is dat van belang omdat uit deze weefsels sporen van DNA en zelfs de eiwitten van dieren gewonnen kunnen worden.

Paleontologe Mary Schweitzer van de Universiteit van Montana publiceerde vorig jaar in Science over de ontdekking in beenderen van Tyrannosaurus rex van collageen, bloedvaten en mogelijk zelfs bloedcellen. Over het mechanisme waardoor deze weefsels 65 miljoen jaar behouden bleven, heeft zij nog niet gepubliceerd.

In hun studie over salamanders en kikkers opperen Maria McNamara van University College Dublin en haar collega’s dat het beenmerg beschermd is gebleven tegen bacteriën en andere schadelijke chemische processen door een laag omringend bot. Omdat de weefsels van de salamanders en die van T. rex zijn ontdekt in milieus die sterk verschillen (respectievelijk kleisteen en zandsteen) achten de onderzoekers het waarschijnlijk dat de conservering van kwetsbare weefsels in fossielen veel algemener is dan tot nu toe is aangenomen.

In het Libros-bekken, een bekende fossiele vindplaats in Spanje, onderzochten McNamara en haar collega’s 15 volwassen salamanders en 56 volwassen kikkers. Uit zes van de kikkers en één salamander konden de onderzoekers beenmerg halen met een pincet. Omdat dit alleen mogelijk was op plaatsten waar de fossiele botten gebroken waren, veronderstellen zij dat in werkelijkheid een groter percentage van de fossielen beenmerg bevat.


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Reconstruction of Sauropleura, from Benton, 1997.


Sclerocephalus haeuseri,


Sclerocephalus haeuseri,

Sclerocephalus was een salamander (een amfibie dus) die ongeveer 280 miljoen jaar geleden (in het Onder-Perm) in wat nu zuidwest-Duitsland is leefde. Hij leefde in zoetwatermeren en was met zijn maximale lengte van 2 m één van de grootste amfibieën in Europa ooit. Hij leefde van vis en andere amfibieën. Net als andere amfibieën hadden de larven kieuwen en haalden ze dus hun zuurstof uit het water. De volwassen exemplaren hadden longen en konden dus ook tijdelijk op het land leven.Rare Amphibian with First Conifer - Pfalz, GermanyRare Amphibian with First Conifer - Pfalz, GermanyRare Amphibian with First Conifer - Pfalz, Germany

Rare Amphibian with First Conifer - Pfalz, Germany

(Sclerocephalus sp.) in association with the earliest conifer species (Walchia speciosa). These salamander-like amphibians once inhabited swamps in what is now Southwest Germany. Age: Permian – 295 million years. Location: Odenheim, Germany (Pfalz).

A famous amphibian-like creature widely  regarded as an intermediate form between
ancient amphibians and reptiles.
Baylor County, Texas    / Lower Permian (approx. 280 million years)

  • Order Seymouriamorpha. A small group of reptilomorphs that are close to the intermediary link between reptiles and amphibians, from the Early Permian. They were abundant in the USA and are thought to have had amphibian-like skulls but more reptile-like bodies with powerful limbs that held the body high off the ground.

SIHETUN ( CHINA )124 million year old frog fossil comes from Sihetun, China

This 124 million year old frog fossil comes from Sihetun, China




°TEMNOSPONDYLI  (zie ook  –>   Labyrinthodontia )                                ° TEMNOSPONDYLI

De temnospondylen ontwikkelden zich aan het einde van het Vroeg-Carboon, zo’n 330 miljoen jaar geleden. Gedurende die 120 miljoen jaar van hun ontwikkeling ontstonden er talrijke landvormen waarvan er een aantal erg groot waren (tot zo’n 4 meter). Ze waren het meest algemeen in het CarboonPerm en Trias. Ze werden gekenmerkt door de bouw van de schedel, die een driehoekige tot parabolische vorm had en vaak was versierd met beenkammen, en de wervels (een grote halvemaanvormige, binnenste wervel met kleine, zijdelings gelegen elementen aan het centrum van de wervel). De dieren bezaten grote, puntvormige tanden, wat er dus op wijst dat het roofdieren (vleeseters, viseters of insekteneters) waren. Met de opkomst van de zoogdierachtige reptielen werden de temnospondylen teruggedreven naar de moerassen waar zij vandaan kwamen. Tegen het begin van de Jura stierven de meesten uit. Enkele soorten overleefden in afgelegen delen van de wereld, zoals Australië en Oostelijk-Azië tot in het Vroeg-Krijt. Binnen deze groep was toen echter al wel een aantal vormen ontstaan, die zich zouden ontwikkelen tot de voorouders van onze hedendaagse kikkers en padden.

  • Order Temnospondyli. The main Carboniferous tetrapod group with some 170 genera. They were abundant until the end of the Triassic, even reaching the Cretaceous. There were three main body shapes, crocodile-like, neotenous (larval characters in the adult, and salamander-like.

  Proc.-R.-Soc.-B-2007-Ruta-3087-95 Temnospondylii clade     Temnospondyl phylogeny

temnobodiestemno20composite temnobodiesfossil

temno-skulls-dorsalLabyrinthodontTemnospondyliAbbreviated Dendrogram
     |  |  |--Edops 
     |  |  `--+-Cochleosauridae
     |  `--Saharastega
         |  `--+--Dendrerpeton
         |     `--+--Eugryinus
         |        `?--Dvinosauria (if basal - Ruta et al 2007)
            |   `--Euskelia
            |       |==Dissorophoidea   
            |       |     `--LISSAMPHIBIA
            |       `--Eryopoidea
            `--+?--Dvinosauria (if Limnarchia - Yates &Warren 2000)
                       |   `--+--Rhytidosteidae
                       |       `--Brachyopoidea

Trias and jura temnospondyls  : 

Temnospondyls trias and jura


Op het eiland Madagaskar is het oudste uitgestorven amfibie gevonden dat op de moderne kikker lijkt, de Triadobatrachus massinotide. Hij leefde 250 miljoen jaar geleden.

De schedel leek al op die van een kikker, breed en met grote oogopeningen maar het lichaam was langer, had meer wervels en een kleine staart.

De staartwervels waren nog niet versmolten zoals bij de moderne kikkers en ook waren het scheen- en kuitbeen nog niet versmolten. Daardoor zal de Triadobatrachus massinoti geen beste springer zijn geweest.

De belangrijkste veranderingen die kikkers tijdens de evolutie hebben ondergaan zijn het korter worden van het lichaam en het verliezen van de staart.




De salamanders, verenigd in de Urodela, verschenen voor het eerst laat in de Jura. Hun levende verwanten behoren tot de minst gespecialiseerde amfibieën. In tegenstelling tot kikkers en padden ondergaan zij geen volledige gedaanteverwisseling. Het volwassen dier en de larve leven op dezelfde wijze, beide zijn zwemmende insekteneters met een lange staart. De herkomst van de Urodela is een raadsel. Mogelijk hebben zij met de Anura (die waarschijnlijk van de temnospondyle labyrinthodonten afstammen) een gemeenschappelijke voorouder gehad. Ze kunnen echter ook ontstaan zijn uit een lepospondyle microsauriër. Tot op heden zijn er geen fossielen gevonden die licht op dit probleem zouden kunnen werpen.







Zatrachys Skull 11.5 x 10.8 cmLate Permian / Texas/Oklahoma USA. 

Zatrachys serratus

Amphibia; Temnospondyli; Zatracheidae; Zatrachys //North America; USA; New Mexico; Rio Arriba County; Welles Quarry, Arroyo de Agua//Permian; Wolfcampian; Cutler Fm//(c) Yale Peabody Museum//YPM VP 004166






 Ecolsonia cutlerensis


The very earliest discovered amphibian is Elginerpeton, which was found in Scotland and dates back 368 million years.




  • Eryops was a temnospondyl from the Early Permian of North America. It had a massive skeleton and heavy limbs. Eryops was about 2 m long and was the top carnivore, eating fish and small tetrapods.


Artistic reconstruction of Eryops, from

Eucritta (Dmitri Bogdanov)


Eucritta (Dmitri Bogdanov)

Early Carboniferous (350 million years ago)Small size; long tail / Isectivore ?

The name Eucritta (“creature”) doesn’t seem particularly informative, unless you combine this Carboniferousgenus with its only known species: Eucritta melanolimnetes, or “creature from the Black Lagoon.” Unlike the star of that 1950′s horror flick, Eucritta was extremely tiny, less than a foot long and only weighing a few ounces. The reason it earns its “creature” status is that Eucritta presents a puzzling mix of tetrapodamphibian and reptilian characteristics, which makes it a bit of a monster–at least in evolutionary terms, if not in terms of its size or temperament.



Fedexia striegeli








  • Ichthyostega was a large carnivore, ranging in size from 0.5 – 1.2 m. The earliest known Ichthyostega comes from 363 million year old deposits in Greenland. It was largely aquatic but had massive broad ribs that could have been used for support of internal organs while on land.

Rekonstruktion von Ichtyostega


The earliest well known amphibians come from the Late Devonian, some 360 million years ago, and areAcanthostega and Ichthyostega.

Figure 1. Reconstruction of Ichthyostega, showing skull, vertebral column, and limbs, and its hind limb based on a specimen collected in 1987. Note the seven digits on the hind limb (from Clack).
Reconstructions of (a) Acanthostega and (b)Ichthyostega, from Benton, 1997.

Artistic reconstruction of Ichthyostega, from











The temnospondyl amphibian Koskinonodon of the late Triassic at @AMNH






 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


No 10 Deltasaurus

File:Deltasaurus kimberleyensis.jpg

diadectidfootwhite        diadectidfootwhite2

File:Diadectes phaseolinus.JPG

  • Order Diadectomorpha. A Late Carboniferous to Early Permian group that were close to amniotes. Most were herbivorous leaf strippers, although some were carnivorous. Diadectes, from the Western USA, Was heavily built with massive limb girdles, but short limbs.

Reconstruction of Diadectes, from Benton, 1997.

The weirdest species the team has found in the Red Beds is officially known, the species Diplocaulus, meaning “two tailed,” a reference to its double-spined tail bones.

It has an extrememly odd-looking body, with a flattened body and legs. The head, however, is pulled out to the sides in the shape of a boomerang – so extremely that by adulthood, the head could be 4 to 6 times wider than it was long. It was armor plated as well, with extremely strong jaws.
Some scientists contend that this shape may have helped Diplocaulus glide through the water – but the flattened lower body could not have contained the muscles of a strong swimmer. It’s much more likely that this was an ambush predator, who waited unseen on the bottom of a murky river until unwary prey came along.
It’s also possible that the skull served as a defensive mechanism – in which Diplocaulus may have used the points of its head as sideways horns to punch with – or as an aid for mating. Since Diplocaulus’ eyes were on the top of its head, finding and impressing a mate by sight would be near impossible. So, a larger skull makes a love connection much more likely.

Source: Wikipedia

File:Diplocaulus magnicornis Exhibit Museum of Natural History.JPG

Diplocaulus magnicornis. Exhibit Museum of Natural History, University of Michigan, 1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.27 January 2011

Diplocaulus was an aquatic amphibian that grew up to 3 feet in length. Unlike most of the other reptiles and amphibians of the time, Diplocaulus was completely adapted to a water environment. They had tiny legs of little use, a boomerang shaped head and a long slender body. They also possessed a long, powerful tail that propelled them through the water, while the broad, flat head may have acted to guide the animal. The location of the eyes and nostrils on the surface of the skull suggest that this animal may have quietly laid on the bottom of pools or rivers waiting for food to get close. Diplocaulus probably fed on crustaceans, insects, and possibly carrion.

Age: Guadalupian Stage, Permian
Locality: Whitehorse Group “Red Beds” Baylor County, Texas

Diplocaulus Diplocaulus magnicornis – cast

Lower Permian  /Taylor Co. Texas / Texas Memorial Museum at Austin

Model of Diplocaulus,
Permian Amphibian

Model of Diplocaulus,
Permian Amphibian

3-feet long
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science
and The American Museum of Natural History



The origin and evolution of that “boomerang” head – part 2. Click to enlarge. Here are the taxa Beerbower (1963) associated with Diploceraspis burkei (Romer 1952). I’ve addedTuditanus which did not fuse the supratemporal and tabular and had a concave ventral maxilla among other traitsshared with Diplocaulus. These taxa are representatives from a very bushy tree. The nectrideans, like Urocordylus, do not include the supratemporal in the “horn”. Keraterpeton did not wrap the squamosal within the supratemporal. In the second example of Diplocaulus (on the right) the tabular extends beyond the supratemporal, as in Diploceraspis.

diplocaulus reconstructions


  • Discosauriscus  
Preserved heads of fossil amphibians


: Discosauriscus pulcherrimus. Amphibian fossils from the Lower Permian, Boskovice, Moravia, Czech Republic


Discosauriscus polcher was one of the primitive amphibians which had large solid skulls. This specimen, in fact, somewhat resembles a salamander with a huge head. Found near Brunn in the Czech Republic, it is over 250 million years old

is een amfibie uit het Onder-Perm. Zijn fossielen zijn gevonden in afzettingen van zoetwatermeren in midden- en west-Europa, vooral in Tsjechië. Tot nu toe zijn alleen fossielen van jonge dieren gevonden, niet van volwassen exemplaren. Dit komt waarschijnlijk omdat de volwassen dieren deze meren gebruikten om hun eieren in af te zetten, maar zelf in een andere habitat leefden. Er zijn twee soorten bekend: D. austriacusen D. pulcherrimus. Van de laatste zijn maar een paar exemplaren bekend.


  Ecolsonia cutlerensis

File:Dissorophus multicinctus.JPG

Dvinosaurus primus






Callobatrachus sanyanensis

Name: Chordata: Vertebrata: Amphibia; Anura; Discoglossidae: Callobatrachus sanyanensis

Geological Time: Lower Cretaceous

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Frog: 65 mm long (snout-vent length) Foreleg: 47 mm Hindleg: 97 mm Matrix: 115 mm X 95 mm

Fossil Site: Yixian Formation, Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, China

Description: This plaque holds a very rare fossil: a frog of the Family Discoglossidae, or disk-tongued frogs. The family derives its name from its fixed disk-like tongue. There are two extant genera known from Europe, Noth Africa, the Middle East, and Asia: Alytes (midwife toads) and Discoglossa, a frog that resembles the Ranidae (common frogs). Callobatrachus is the oldest known Discoglossid, and was very briefly described in 1999. A complete description was done in 2001 (See Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology 21 (3) 460-476).

Frogs of any age are most rare specimens; one from the Cretaceous, so far back in geological time in their history, is almost unheard of. This fine specimen shows most all of the bones in articulation. The left radioulna is visible as it proceeds under the upper body. I do not know if any carpals or phalanges are present to the manus. The matrix has been stabilized to prevent loss of any of the specimen


Found in the Daohugou Biota in Mongolia, the fossil of this salamander Chunerpeton showing not only the preserved skeleton but also the skin and even external gills. The fossil dates back to the Jurassic Period, about 160 million years ago.

Found in the Daohugou Biota in Mongolia, the fossil of this salamander Chunerpeton showing not only the preserved skeleton but also the skin and even external gills.

The fossil dates back to the Jurassic Period, about 160 million years ago.


Skull of the temnospondyl amphibian Cyclotosaurus intermedius

Cyclotosaurus intermedius – rekonstrukcja



fragment de mâchoire on distingue l’empreinte des dents.








    Fig. 3 Reconstructions of amphibian skeletons. (a) Carboniferous temnospondyl Balanerpeton (from A. R. Milner and S. E. K. Sequeira, The temnospondyl amphibians from the Visean of East Kirkton, West Lothian, Scotland, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh Earth Sci., 84:331–362, 1994). (b) Permian microsaur Rhynchonkos (as Goniorhynchus, from R. L. Carroll and P. Gaskill, The order Microsauria, Mem. Amer. Phil. Soc., 126:1–211, 1978).
Balanerpeton Balanerpeton.

(Milner & Sequeira 1994) [Balanerpetonskeletal reconstruction and life restoration immediately below is from Milner & Sequeira (1994), and borrowed from here].

i-a6a15b511ac2097808c68e8e16c85a0f-Balanerpeton.jpg(Milner & Sequeira 1994) [Balanerpetonskeletal reconstruction and life restoration  from Milner & Sequeira (1994), and borrowed from here].         

Abbreviated Dendrogram
`–+–+–Edopoidea | | |–Edops
|  |  `–+-Cochleosauridae
|  `–Saharastega
`–+-+–Balanerpeton | `–+–Dendrerpeton
|     `–+–Eugryinus | `?–Dvinosauria (if basal – Ruta et al 2007)
|   `–Euskelia | |==Dissorophoidea
|       |     `–LISSAMPHIBIA
|       `–Eryopoidea
`–+?–Dvinosauria (if Limnarchia – Yates &Warren 2000)
|–+–Plagiosauroidea | `–+–Rhytidosteidae | `–Brachyopoidea
|–TrematosauroideaBalanerpeton woodi - reconstruction of skullBalanerpeton woodi, reconstruction of skull; from Milner & Sequeira 1994 (via Tetrapoda – Balanerpeton)
  • Banksiops       A replacement name for Banksia townrowi

Bashkirosaurus is an extinct genus of archegosauroidean temnospondyl within the family Archegosauridae

  • Batrachiderpeton

 Batrachiderpeton reticulatum (= B. lineatum)

Batrachosauroididae indet.
Stereophotograph 1 : lateral view of the right side of the vertebra ; the picture is taken slightly from the above. Magnification X6.
Stereophotograph 2 : anterior view of the vertebra. Magnification X6.

  Batrachosuchus browni was a temnospondyl amphibian of the Triassic.
The  systematic paleontology of Batrachosuchus is:Amphibia Linnaeus 1758
Temnospondyli Zittel 1888
Stereospondyli von Zittel 1887
Trematosauria Yates and Warren 2000
Brachyopoidea Lydekker 1885
Brachyopidae Lydekker 1885
Batrachosuchus Broom 1903
Batrachosuchus browni Broom 1903    The type locality of Batrachosuchus browni is in the Burgersdorp Formation at Aliwal North Area in South Africa. The strata in which the remains were found is dated to a span of 249.7 – 237 million years ago (Olenekian-Anisian).
The length of Batrachosuchus browni was about 50 cm. (1.6 ft.).
batrachosuchus skull
This excerpt from Palaeos Vertebrates tells about physical characteristics of the family Brachyopidae:The Brachyopids were a group of medium-sized tetrapods characterized by short,broad flat skulls with large eyes situated far forward.
The legs are relativelysmall; the creature would have spent most of its life in streams and lakes,although it may have been quite capable of moving about on land.
The uppermargin of the mouth was armed with large fangs, indicating fish-eating habits.
The different species are distinguished mainly by details of skull shape.
( Neal Robbins)
  <–pdf  AMNH     Temnospondyl phylogeny

beelzebufo devil frog

Sluit dit venster
Zo zal het hele skelet van Beelzebufo ampinga eruit hebben gezien. Alleen de witte delen zijn daadwerkelijk gevonden. Het streepje rechts stelt vijf centimeter voor. (PNAS) Evans en haar collega’s bestudeerden de meer dan 60 fossiele fragmenten die in het Bassin Mahajanga ( Madagascar) werden verzameld. Het team kon geen volledig skelet samenvoegen, maar was wel in staat om een bijna volledig beeld van de schedel te reconstrueren ( er waren genoeg schedelbeenderen aanwezig om minstens de linkerhelft te reconstrueren :de andere helft is dan gebaseerd op symetrie ) , die “groot ,dik en uitgerust met een reusachtige mond” bleek te zijn .

Belzebufo (left) was 2-3 times bigger than the largest living South American frog in this family (top right), and 4-5 times bigger than the largest living Malagasy frog (bottom right).PNAS
Fig. 3.          <–
Fig. 3.

Representative elements of Beelzebufo ampinga, Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. (A and B) Left premaxilla (UA 9622), labial and lingual views. (C and D) Left maxilla, anterior region (FMNH PR 2510), labial and lingual views. (E) Right nasal, rostral process (UA 9674), dorsal view reflected. (F) Partial left nasal (UA 9629), dorsal view, within scaled nasal shape. (G) Immature right nasal, maxillary process (UA 9625, reflected for comparison with F), dorsolateral view. (H) Right squamosal, maxillary process (FMNH PR 1959), lateral view. (I) Left squamosal, partial maxillary process (UA 9639), lateral view. (J) Left frontoparietal, anterior region (FMNH PR 2512), dorsal view. (K) Right squamosal, otic process (FMNH PR 2536), dorsal view. (L) Sacral vertebra, right half with left side added by reflection (FMNH PR 2003), dorsal view. (M and N) Urostyle, anterior part (UA 9636), anterior and dorsal views. (O) Left tibiofibula (UA 9628), posterior view. (P) Left frontoparietal and exoccipital in posterior view with right side added by reflection (UA 9675). Small arrows indicate unbroken edges. ams, absence of medial shelf; ap, alary process; aps, absence of palatal shelf; mxa, maxillary articulation; occ, occipital condyle; pa, premaxillary articulation; pp, posterior process. (Scale bar: 10 mm.)

Beelzebufo ampigna rana huesos

Beelzebufo was the largest frog that ever lived, weighing about 10 pounds and measuring nearly a foot and a half from head to tail. Judging by its unusually wide mouth, it probably feasted on the occasional baby dinosaur as well as the usual insects.
Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago) / Large size; unusually large, wide-opening mouth
Slightly outweighing its contemporary descendant, the Goliath Frog of Equatorial Guinea,
Beelzebufo was the largest frog that ever lived, weighing about 10 pounds and measuring nearly a foot and a half from head to tail. Unlike contemporary frogs, which are mostly content to snack on insects, Beelzebufo (at least by the evidence of its unusually wide and capacious mouth) must have chowed down on the smaller animals of the late Cretaceous period, perhaps including baby dinosaurs and full-grown “dino-birds” in its diet.
Reprising a common theme, this prehistoric amphibian evolved to its giant size on the relatively isolated Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, where it didn’t have to deal with the large, predatory, theropod dinosaurs that ruled the earth elsewhere.
Goliath frog eating another frog

Beiyanerpeton jianpingensis.

The world’s oldest fossil of a salamander has been discovered. Six fossils of 157 million year old salamanders were found embedded in volcanic ash in an ancient lake bed in western Liaoning Province, China. The ash helped keep the fossil remarkably well preserved. The Jurassic salamander has been given the name, Beiyanerpeton jianpingensis. These fossils take salamanders back another 40 million years into the Oxfordian stage of the Late Jurassic. The previous oldest salamander fossil was a 114 million year old fossil found in Spain.

The ancient 4-inch long Jurassic salamanders resembled modern salamanders. The researchers say differences between the fossil and modern salamndroids include “a discrete and tooth-bearing palatine, and unequivocally nonpedicellate and monocuspid marginal teeth in large and presumably mature individuals.”

The research is published here in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS).



 jurassic salamander fossil

jurassic salamander fossil




















Photo: Mick Ellison, American Museum of Natural History/Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Skull of Benthosuchus sushkini, an amphibian that lived 230 million years ago. This fossil originates from the Triassic rocks of the Scharzhenga River, Russia.
NaturalHistoryMuseum  London 
Fossil skull of the amphibian Benthosuchus sushkini




This is a fine exemple of a Branchiosaurus sp. from the Lower Permian of Germany. Approximately 260,000,000 years old.




Four Rare Fossil Amphibians  - Pfalz, GermanyFour Rare Fossil Amphibians  - Pfalz, GermanyFour Rare Fossil Amphibians  - Pfalz, Germany

three adults and one larval Branchiosaurs. These salamander-like amphibians once inhabited swamps in what is now Southwest Germany. This fossil plate comes from a  quarry near Pfalz, Germany

Although Branchiosaurs look like modern day salamanders they are not related and are classified in a separate order and family of amphibians. The name branchiosaur means “gill lizard”. As adults Branchiosaurs retained their external gills similar to a modern day amphibians like the mudpuppy (Necturus). Google fossilream to see more of our incredible fossils.

Branchiosaurus Geologic Age: Lower Permian Location: Odenheim, Rhineland-Pfalz, Southwest Germany