Temnospondyls were an order of amphibians that
evolved during the Carboniferous period, perhaps
around 350 million years ago, and were successful
during the the Carboniferous, Permian, and
The majority of them became extinct at around end of the
but some survived through the
and into the
with the last Temnospondyls dying out around 100 million years ago.
Temnospondyls were extremly diverse, and during their history
adapted to many different environments, including freshwater,
semi-aquatic fresh water, and terrestrial.
One group of fish-eaters, the Trematosaurs even adapted to marine
environments - the only amphibians ever to do so
(apart from the modern crab-eating frog which can tolerate
salt water environments). Additionally, Temnospondyls might well include
the ancestors of modern frogs and salamanders (see
Temnospondyls varied greatly in size and shape.
The largest was Prionosuchus, which was in fact the largest
amphibian known, and which could grow as long as 30 feet (9 meters).
In terms of shape, some Temnospondyls resembled
newts, and in some cases even retained gills, some
grew robust limbs and adapted to life on land (although these
tended to be gradually displaced by reptiles as time progressed), and some
resembled crocodiles without armor.
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