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Balanerpeton

Balanerpeton

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2023-07-18 Snargl 0 minute 0 second

What kind of animal is Balanerpeton?

Balanerpeton is an extinct genus of amphibian that belonged to the order Temnospondyli, which includes some of the earliest and most diverse tetrapods.

Balanerpeton lived in the Early Carboniferous period, about 336 to 326 million years ago, and is estimated to reach up to 43.4 cm (17 in) in length.

It was discovered by Stanley Wood in the East Kirkton Quarry in Scotland, where it is the most common fossil tetrapod.

Balanerpeton had some features that suggest it was adapted to life on land, such as large external nostrils, an ear with a tympanic membrane and a rod-like stapes (a bone that transmits sound vibrations), and the absence of lateral line sulci (sensory organs that detect water movements) and an ossified branchial system (gills).

It probably breathed by gulping air through its mouth, rather than expanding its chest, as indicated by its small straight ribs.

Balanerpeton's name means "bathhouse reptile", referring to the place where its fossils were first found.

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Where does the Balanerpeton live?

Balanerpeton was an extinct amphibian that lived in the Early Carboniferous period, about 336 to 326 million years ago.
It was one of the earliest and most common tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) in the East Kirkton Limestone of the East Kirkton Quarry assemblage of terrestrial amphibians in Scotland.
Balanerpeton was discovered by Stanley Wood, a paleontologist who studied the fossil-rich site in the Bathgate Hills near Edinburgh.
Balanerpeton was named after the Greek words for "bath" and "creeping thing", because the limestone was formed in a hot spring environment.

Balanerpeton was about 50 cm (20 inches) long and had a slender body with a long tail.
It had large external nostrils, large openings in the back of the palate, and an ear with a tympanic membrane and a rod-like stapes (a bone that transmits sound vibrations to the inner ear).
These features suggest that Balanerpeton was capable of hearing high-frequency sounds and breathing air through its mouth.
Balanerpeton did not have lateral line sulci (sensory organs that detect water movements) or an ossified branchial system (bones that support the gills), indicating that it was fully adapted to life on land.
Balanerpeton probably used its small straight ribs to support its body rather than to expand its chest volume for breathing.

Balanerpeton was a member of the temnospondyls, a diverse group of amphibians that ranged from small terrestrial forms to large aquatic predators.
Balanerpeton belonged to a basal branch of the temnospondyls called the dendrerpetontids, which also included Dendrerpeton and Crassigyrinus.
Balanerpeton was closely related to another dendrerpetontid from the same site, Loxomma, which was larger and more robust than Balanerpeton.
Balanerpeton and Loxomma were among the first tetrapods to colonize the terrestrial ecosystems of the Carboniferous, and they may have been preyed upon by larger amphibians or reptiles.
Balanerpeton was an important part of the early evolution of tetrapods, and its fossils provide valuable insights into the anatomy, ecology, and ontogeny (development) of these ancient animals.

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What does the Balanerpeton look like?

Balanerpeton is an extinct genus of amphibian that lived in the Early Carboniferous period, about 336 to 326 million years ago.

It is estimated to reach up to 43.4 cm (17 in) in length.

Balanerpeton had large external nostrils, big holes in the back of its palate, and an ear with a tympanic membrane and a rod-like stapes.

These features suggest that it could hear high-frequency sound, breathe air through its mouth, and possibly make vocalizations.

Balanerpeton did not have lateral line sulci (sensory organs on the skin) or an ossified branchial system (gill bones), indicating that it was fully terrestrial and did not rely on water for respiration or detection of prey.

Balanerpeton was discovered by Stanley Wood and is the earliest and most common tetrapod in the East Kirkton Limestone of Scotland.

Some additional facts are:
  • Balanerpeton had a long, slender body with four short limbs and a long tail.
    Its skin was probably smooth and moist, like modern amphibians.

  • Balanerpeton belonged to the order Temnospondyli, a diverse group of primitive amphibians that included some of the largest and most bizarre animals of the Paleozoic era.

  • Balanerpeton was named after the Bathgate Hills, where it was first found.
    The name means "bath-house reptile" in Greek, because the limestone formation was once used as a source of building material for Roman baths.

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