Fossil amphibian collection

Paracyclotosaurus davidi fossil

The only known example of Paracyclotosaurus davidi, an amphibian that lived in Australia around 235 million years ago.

The fossil amphibian collection at the Museum contains approximately 400 specimens and casts.

400                       46                 

Specimens                   Type specimens

Strengths

The collection contains 400 specimens and 46 type specimens, mostly of temnospondyl amphibians but also some microsaurs, nectrideans, frogs and salamanders.

Major collections

Palaeozoic amphibians

Carboniferous material

British Carboniferous material in the collection includes:

  • the only 3D skull of a baphetid
  • the most complete specimen of the stem-tetrapod Crassigyrinus
  •  several specimens of the earliest temnospondyl, Balanerpeton, from East Kirkton, Scotland

The collection also contains significant Carboniferous material from:

  • Jarrow, Ireland, including the type specimen of Procochleosaurus
  • Joggins, Nova Scotia, including the type specimens of Dendrerpeton, Hylonomus and Trachystegos
  • Linton, Ohio, including many figured specimens

Permian material

Early Permian material from Germany includes about 20 Archegosaurus-bearing concretions from Lebach and a collection of temnospondyls from Odernheim-am-Glan, Germany, donated by Herman Credner. The specimen of Apateon pedestris from Niederhäslich shows soft tissue preservation and form.

Permo-Triassic material

As a result of early collecting in the British Empire in the 19th century, the collection includes a range of significant Permo-Triassic temnospondyl amphibians from:

  • the Karroo of South Africa, including the type specimens of Batrachosuchus, Lydekkerina, Rhytidosteus and Micropholis
  • India, including the type specimen of Brachyops
  • Australia, including the type specimens of Bothriceps, Trucheosaurus and Paracyclotosaurus

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The fossil amphibian collection is being digitised

Curator

Sandra Chapman

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Geological range

  • Late Devonian to Pleistocene

Important historical collections

  • Palaeozoic amphibians
  • Mesozoic and Cenozoic amphibians

Mesozoic and Cenozoic amphibians

Triassic material

Our type specimen of Paracyclotosaurus is the only example of a complete articulated skeleton of a capitosaur, one of the major groups of Triassic temnospondyl amphibians.

We also care for a number of significant specimens from the Triassic of Europe including:

  • Benthosuchus sushkini from Russia
  • he type specimen of Stenotosaurus semiclausus from Germany
  • the type specimen of Procyclotosaurus stantonensis, the only complete amphibian skull from the Triassic of the British Isles.
Jurassic material

Microvertebrate amphibian specimens from Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, are the main Jurassic material in the collection. They include Eodiscoglossus oxoniensis, the earliest British fossil frog Marmorerpeton, the earliest British fossil salamander and the largest salamander Cryptobranchus (Andrias) scheuchzeri from Switzerland.

Palaeogene material

The collection includes a considerable number of specimens of Palaeogene amphibians from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. There are also fossil frogs and salamanders from the Brown coals of Germany, including the type specimen of Eopelobates anthracinus.

Pleistocene material

There is a large quantity of Pleistocene frog material, primarily from Igtham in Kent, but also from other British Pleistocene localities.

Country of origin

The collection includes material from all continents except Antarctica.

Species

  • Paracyclotosaurus davidi
  • Apateon pedestris
  • Crassigyrinus
  • Balanerpeton
  • Procochleosaurus
  • Dendrerpeton
  • Trachystegos
  • Archegosaurus
  • Apateon pedestris
  • Batrachosuchus
  • Lydekkerina
  • Rhytidosteus
  • Micropholis
  • Brachyops
  • Bothriceps
  • Trucheosaurus
  • Procyclotosaurus

Related information

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Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collections management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.