The microsaurs, or "small lizards," were the most varied group of lepospondyls, with terrestrial types that lived like lizards, burrowing types with legs, and aquatic types that kept their larval gills into adult life. All microsaurs had small legs and short tails.
The group evolved late in the Carboniferous period, and survived into the Early Permian. They may have been the ancestors of the newts and salamanders.
name: Microbrachis time: Late Carboniferous locality: Europe (Czechoslovakia) size: 6 in/15 cm long
This tiny microsaur had the typically elongated body of an aquatic animal, made up of more than 40 vertebrae. Its legs were tiny, and played no part in swimming. This was achieved by sideways undulations of the body and slender tail. This amphibian probably fed on small shrimplike invertebrates in the freshwater plankton.
Microbrachis was a Peter Pan among the lepospondyls, since the adult retained the 3 pairs of feathery gills it had
Was this article helpful?