Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Ophiderpeton brownriggi

Ophiderpeton is an aistopod, a snake-like limbless lepospondyl amphibian from the Lower Carboniferous of Ireland and Scotland. Ophiderpeton became extinct during the Permian Period. Ophiderpeton had a broader skull than the other aistopods and probably lived either an aquatic or a semi-aquatic life, feeding on small animals. Its body was very elongate with a long vertebral column; it probably lived a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Several species originally described as Ophiderpeton were transferred to different genera, such as Oestecephalus amphiuminum, a well known species from the Upper Carboniferous of Ohio. Today, there is only two species that are considered to belong to Ophiderpeton: O. brownriggi from Ireland and O. kirktonense from Scotland.

Ophiderpeton brownriggi
Wright and Huxley, 1866
Meaning of generic name
Snake Crawler
Skull length: 4 cm, Length: 70 cm
Nearly complete skeleton
Age and Distribution
Lower carboniferous (Visean), Coal measures of Jarrow Colliery, Ireland.

[How come the Arizona page links here too? Ah, it is swisshelmense in Arizona, no longer considered part of genus!]
Lepospondyli Aistopoda Ophiderpetontidae
Further Reading
Huxley, T. H., in Wright E. P., and Huxley T. H., 1866, On a collection of fossils from the Jarrow Colliery, Kilkenna: Geological Magazine, v. 3, p. 165-171.
Image by Nobu Tamura (click to enlarge)
Ophiderpeton brownriggi:

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