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Labyrinthodontia
"Labyrinthodontia" (Greek, 'maze-toothed') is an informal grouping of extinct predatory amphibians which were major components of ecosystems in the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras (about 390 to 150 million years ago). Traditionally considered a subclass of the class Amphibia, modern classification systems recognize that labyrinthodonts are not a formal natural group (clade) exclusive of other tetrapods. Instead, they consistute an evolutionary grade (a paraphyletic group), ancestral to living tetrapods such as lissamphibians (modern amphibians) and amniotes (reptiles, mammals, and kin). "Labyrinthodont"-grade vertebrates evolved from lobe-finned fishes in the Devonian, though a formal boundary between fish and amphibian is difficult to define at this point in time. "Labyrinthodont" generally refers to extinct four-limbed tetrapods with a large body size and a crocodile-like lifestyle. The name describes the pattern of infolding of the dentin and enamel of the teeth, wh ...
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Temnospondyli
Temnospondyli (from Greek τέμνειν, ''temnein'' 'to cut' and σπόνδυλος, ''spondylos'' 'vertebra') is a diverse order of small to giant tetrapods—often considered primitive amphibians—that flourished worldwide during the Carboniferous, Permian, and Triassic periods. A few species continued into the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Fossils have been found on every continent. During about 210 million years of evolutionary history, they adapted to a wide range of habitats, including freshwater, terrestrial, and even coastal marine environments. Their life history is well understood, with fossils known from the larval stage, metamorphosis, and maturity. Most temnospondyls were semiaquatic, although some were almost fully terrestrial, returning to the water only to breed. These temnospondyls were some of the first vertebrates fully adapted to life on land. Although temnospondyls are considered amphibians, many had characteristics, such as scales and armour-like bon ...
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Evolutionary Grade
A grade is a taxon united by a level of morphological or physiological complexity. The term was coined by British biologist Julian Huxley, to contrast with clade, a strictly phylogenetic unit. Definition An evolutionary grade is a group of species united by morphological or physiological traits, that has given rise to another group that has major differences from the ancestral condition, and is thus not considered part of the ancestral group, while still having enough similarities that we can group them under the same clade. The ancestral group will not be phylogenetically complete (i.e. will not form a clade), so will represent a paraphyletic taxon. In order to fully understand evolutionary grades, one must first get a better understanding of Phylogenetics, defined as "''In biology, is the study of the evolutionary history and relationships among individuals or groups of organisms (e.g. species, or populations). These relationships are discovered through phylogenetic infer ...
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Amphibian
Amphibians are four-limbed and ectothermic vertebrates of the class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terrestrial, fossorial, arboreal or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Thus amphibians typically start out as larvae living in water, but some species have developed behavioural adaptations to bypass this. The young generally undergo metamorphosis from larva with gills to an adult air-breathing form with lungs. Amphibians use their skin as a secondary respiratory surface and some small terrestrial salamanders and frogs lack lungs and rely entirely on their skin. They are superficially similar to reptiles like lizards but, along with mammals and birds, reptiles are amniotes and do not require water bodies in which to breed. With their complex reproductive needs and permeable skins, amphibians are often ecological indicators; in recent decades there has been a dramatic decli ...
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Ichthyostegalia
Ichthyostegalia is an order of extinct amphibians, representing the earliest landliving vertebrates. The group is thus an evolutionary grade rather than a clade. While the group are recognized as having feet rather than fins, most, if not all, had internal gills in adulthood and lived primarily as shallow water fish and spent minimal time on land. The group evolved from elpistostegalian fish in the late Devonian, or possibly in the middle Devonian. They continued to thrive as denizens of swampland and tidal channels throughout the period. They gave rise to the Temnospondyli and then disappeared during the transition to the Carboniferous. Classification *Ichthyostegalia ** Acanthostegidae ***''Acanthostega'' ** Crassigyrinidae ***''Crassigyrinus'' ** Densignathidae ***'' Densignathus'' ** Elginerpetontidae ***''Elginerpeton'' ***''Obruchevichthys'' ** Ichthyostegidae ***'' Hynerpeton'' ***''Ichthyostega'' ** Jakubsonidae ***'' Jakubsonia'' ** Metaxygnathidae ***'' Metaxygnathus ...
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Evolutionary Grade
A grade is a taxon united by a level of morphological or physiological complexity. The term was coined by British biologist Julian Huxley, to contrast with clade, a strictly phylogenetic unit. Definition An evolutionary grade is a group of species united by morphological or physiological traits, that has given rise to another group that has major differences from the ancestral condition, and is thus not considered part of the ancestral group, while still having enough similarities that we can group them under the same clade. The ancestral group will not be phylogenetically complete (i.e. will not form a clade), so will represent a paraphyletic taxon. In order to fully understand evolutionary grades, one must first get a better understanding of Phylogenetics, defined as "''In biology, is the study of the evolutionary history and relationships among individuals or groups of organisms (e.g. species, or populations). These relationships are discovered through phylogenetic infer ...
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Lepospondyli
Lepospondyli is a diverse taxon of early tetrapods. With the exception of one late-surviving lepospondyl from the Late Permian of Morocco ('' Diplocaulus minumus''), lepospondyls lived from the Early Carboniferous ( Mississippian) to the Early Permian and were geographically restricted to what is now Europe and North America. Five major groups of lepospondyls are known: Adelospondyli; Aïstopoda; Lysorophia; Microsauria; and Nectridea. Lepospondyls have a diverse range of body forms and include species with newt-like, eel- or snake-like, and lizard-like forms. Various species were aquatic, semiaquatic, or terrestrial. None were large (the biggest genus, the diplocaulid ''Diplocaulus'', reached a meter in length, but most were much smaller), and they are assumed to have lived in specialized ecological niches not taken by the more numerous temnospondyl amphibians that coexisted with them in the Paleozoic. Lepospondyli was named in 1888 by Karl Alfred von Zittel, who coined th ...
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Amniota
Amniotes are a clade of tetrapod vertebrates that comprises sauropsids (including all reptiles and birds, and extinct parareptiles and non-avian dinosaurs) and synapsids (including pelycosaurs and therapsids such as mammals). They are distinguished from the other tetrapod clade — the amphibians — by the development of three extraembryonic membranes (amnion for embryoic protection, chorion for gas exchange, and allantois for metabolic waste disposal or storage), thicker and more keratinized skin, and costal respiration (breathing by expanding/constricting the rib cage). All three main features listed above, namely the presence of an amniotic buffer, water-impermeable cutes and a robust respiratory system, are very important for amniotes to live on land as true terrestrial animals – the ability to reproduce in locations away from water bodies, better homeostasis in drier environments, and more efficient air respiration to power terrestrial locomotions, although they mig ...
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Amniotes
Amniotes are a clade of tetrapod vertebrates that comprises sauropsids (including all reptiles and birds, and extinct parareptiles and non-avian dinosaurs) and synapsids (including pelycosaurs and therapsids such as mammals). They are distinguished from the other tetrapod clade — the amphibians — by the development of three extraembryonic membranes (amnion for embryoic protection, chorion for gas exchange, and allantois for metabolic waste disposal or storage), thicker and more keratinized skin, and costal respiration (breathing by expanding/constricting the rib cage). All three main features listed above, namely the presence of an amniotic buffer, water-impermeable cutes and a robust respiratory system, are very important for amniotes to live on land as true terrestrial animals – the ability to reproduce in locations away from water bodies, better homeostasis in drier environments, and more efficient air respiration to power terrestrial locomotions, although they mig ...
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Lissamphibia
The Lissamphibia is a group of tetrapods that includes all modern amphibians. Lissamphibians consist of three living groups: the Salientia (frogs, toads, and their extinct relatives), the Caudata (salamanders, newts, and their extinct relatives), and the Gymnophiona (the limbless caecilians and their extinct relatives). A fourth group, the Allocaudata, was moderately successful, spanning 160 million years from the Middle Jurassic to the Early Pleistocene, but became extinct two million years ago. For several decades, this name has been used for a group that includes all living amphibians, but excludes all the main groups of Paleozoic tetrapods, such as Temnospondyli, Lepospondyli, Embolomeri, and Seymouriamorpha. Some scientists have concluded that all of the primary groups of modern amphibians—frogs, salamanders and caecilians—are closely related. Some writers have argued that the early Permian dissorophoid ''Gerobatrachus hottoni'' is a lissamphibian. If it is not, the ea ...
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Sarcopterygii
Sarcopterygii (; ) — sometimes considered synonymous with Crossopterygii () — is a taxon (traditionally a class or subclass) of the bony fishes known as the lobe-finned fishes. The group Tetrapoda, a mostly terrestrial superclass including amphibians, sauropsids (reptiles, including dinosaurs and therefore birds) and synapsids (with mammals being the only extant group), evolved from certain sarcopterygians; under a cladistic view, tetrapods are themselves considered a subgroup within Sarcopterygii. The known extant non-tetrapod sarcopterygians include two species of coelacanths and six species of lungfishes. Characteristics Early lobe-finned fishes are bony fish with fleshy, lobed, paired fins, which are joined to the body by a single bone. The fins of lobe-finned fishes differ from those of all other fish in that each is borne on a fleshy, lobelike, scaly stalk extending from the body. The scales of sarcopterygians are true scaloids, consisting of lamellar bone surro ...
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Lissamphibia
The Lissamphibia is a group of tetrapods that includes all modern amphibians. Lissamphibians consist of three living groups: the Salientia (frogs, toads, and their extinct relatives), the Caudata (salamanders, newts, and their extinct relatives), and the Gymnophiona (the limbless caecilians and their extinct relatives). A fourth group, the Allocaudata, was moderately successful, spanning 160 million years from the Middle Jurassic to the Early Pleistocene, but became extinct two million years ago. For several decades, this name has been used for a group that includes all living amphibians, but excludes all the main groups of Paleozoic tetrapods, such as Temnospondyli, Lepospondyli, Embolomeri, and Seymouriamorpha. Some scientists have concluded that all of the primary groups of modern amphibians—frogs, salamanders and caecilians—are closely related. Some writers have argued that the early Permian dissorophoid ''Gerobatrachus hottoni'' is a lissamphibian. If it is not, the ea ...
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Amniote
Amniotes are a clade of tetrapod vertebrates that comprises sauropsids (including all reptiles and birds, and extinct parareptiles and non-avian dinosaurs) and synapsids (including pelycosaurs and therapsids such as mammals). They are distinguished from the other tetrapod clade — the amphibians — by the development of three extraembryonic membranes ( amnion for embryoic protection, chorion for gas exchange, and allantois for metabolic waste disposal or storage), thicker and more keratinized skin, and costal respiration (breathing by expanding/constricting the rib cage). All three main features listed above, namely the presence of an amniotic buffer, water-impermeable cutes and a robust respiratory system, are very important for amniotes to live on land as true terrestrial animals – the ability to reproduce in locations away from water bodies, better homeostasis in drier environments, and more efficient air respiration to power terrestrial locomotions, although they ...
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