Apateon Lower Permian Fossil Amphibian

Apateon pedestris (a Permian tetrapod)

Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Superclass Tetrapoda, Class Amphibia, Order Temnospondyli, Family Branchiosauridae

Geological Time: Lower Permian (Asselian Age - 290 million years ago)

Size: 42 mm long (tip of skull to tip of tail along backbone). Matrix: 50 mm by 55 mm

Fossil Site: Red Beds, Odernheim, Germany

Apateon Permian Fossil AmphibianThis is a rarely seen amphibian; known as Apateon pedestris, thought to be a precursor of the salamanders. The family derives its name from the gill structures that are present from larvae to adult. Some salamanders demonstrate neoteny, or the capability of reproducing while in what is ostensibly the larval state. Neoteny is not all that uncommon among modern-day Apateon salamanders (some 40 species in 9 different families demonstrate this strategy), with the Mexican Salamander, Axolotl, being an example; this means that it retains its gills and fins, and it doesn't develop the protruding eyes, ontogeny serieseyelids 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 detail is amazing for a specimen nearly 300 million years old. Note the soft tissue outlines preserved. Apateon pedestris grew to a maximum length of 9 cm. The lower left picture shows an ontogeny series, with the current specimen being on the right side.

click fossil pictures to enlarge


Fossil Museum Navigation:
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils