Temnospondyl – By John Ayres
(“Temno” “spondyl” means “cut” “vertebra”, because of the backbone units: each vertebra is divided into several parts.)
3 most interesting facts about my creature:
- The Temnospondyli are a very diverse order of amphibious tetrapods, superficially similar in appearance to modern crocodiles and salamanders, which dominated inland rivers, lakes and seas throughout the Mesozoic era.
- First appearing in the Carboniferous period, they were early amphibians that became the top predators in water and on land in the desert lakes and rivers of the Triassic. They survived for at least 210 million years in a range of habitats including fresh water, terrestrial and coastal marine.
- Fossil remains have been found in the Otter sandstone of the Jurassic Coast, representing a reptilian predator up to four metres long.
Something I found surprising in my research:
Because of the superficial resemblance between some temnospondyls and modern crocodiles, there is a continuing debate among palaeontologists about their relationship. Were the temnospondyls wiped out by the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, or did some survive to evolve into some of our modern amphibious reptiles?
Why should people vote for my creature?
The Temnospondyli represent a key evolutionary stage in the transition from water to land. They are some of the first vertebrates to become fully adapted to life on land.