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Re: Fossil amphibian with potty mouth



http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081212/sc_nm/us_amphibian_jaws

Whether it is an amphibian or a stem-tetrapod remains to be seen. I'm working on the problem, and so are several other people...


"The creature called Gerrothorax pulcherrimus, which lived alongside some of the early dinosaurs, opened its mouth not by dropping its lower jaw, as other vertebrate animals do.

"Instead, it lifted back the top of its head in a way that looked a lot like lifting the lid of a toilet seat."

That's normal among stereospondyls and presumably other flat temnospondyls as well. The plate-shaped clavicles extended underneath the jaw joint. An animal that already lies on the ground can't drop its lower jaw anyway.


That's the _least_ remarkable aspect of *Gerrothorax*! :-)

Incidentally, the text talks about "warm lakes". I'm not sure if it was really restricted to freshwater. Many temnospondyls were euryhaline and/or marine.