Some Speculations on the Life Style of Permo-Carboniferous Seymouriamorph Tetrapods (Discosauriscidae): Immaturity or Paedomorphosis?

Dmitry V. Malakhov


The recent knowledge on the development and paleoenvironment of Permo-Carboniferous seymouriamorph tetrapods of the family Discosauriscidae are summarized and compared with those of existing Amphibia. The analysis of many factors (skeleton structure, ontogenesis and climatic conditions) allows to evaluate a probability of paedomorphic development of Discosauriscidae as at least very possible.


Permo-Carboniferous; Discosauriscidae; paedomorphosis; immaturity

Full Text:



Bannikov A. A., Darevsky I. S., Ishchenko V. G., Rustamov A. K., and Scherbak N. N. (1977), Field Guide of the USSR Amphibians and Reptiles, Prosveshchenie, Moscow [in Russian].

Beachy C. K. (1995), «Effects of larval growth history on metamorphosis in a stream-dwelling salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)», J. Herpetol., 29(3), 375 – 382.

Benton M. J. (1997), Vertebrate Palaeontology, Chapman and Hall, London.

Berman D. S., Reisz R. R., and Eberth D. A. (1987), «Seymouria sanjuanensis (Amphibia: Batrachosauria) from the Lower Permian Culter Formation of north central New Mexico and the occurrence of sexual dimorphism in that genus questioned», Can. J. Earth Sci., 24(9), 1769 – 1784.

Bystrow A. P. (1935), «On the growth and sculpturing of dermal bones of Stegocephalian skull», Arkh. Anat. Gistol. Émbriol., 14(4), 583 – 610 [in Russian].

Bystrow A. P. (1944), «Kotlassia prima Amalitzky», Bull. Geol. Soc. Am., 55, 379 – 416

Carroll R. L. (1997), Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, Cambridge Univ. Press.

Dodson P. and Tumarkin A. (1998), «Problematic ceratopsids: don’t throw baby out with the bathwater», in: Abstrs. of the Dinofest Symposium, D. L. Wolberg, K. Gittis, S. Miller, L. Carey, and A. Raynor (eds.), Acad. Nat. Sci., Philadelphia, pp. 12 – 13.

Efremov I. A. (1931), «On the Permo-Triassic Labyrinthodonts from USSR», Trudy Paleozool. Inst., 1, 57 – 67 [in Russian].

Emeljanov S. V. (1963), «Heterochrony in the appearance of the anlagens of organs of Vertebrates», Trudy Inst. Morfol. Zhyvotn., 38, 17 – 77 [in Russian].

Fakui Z., Yaozeng I., and Xungang W. (1984), «A new occurrence of Permian Seymouriamorphs in Xinjiang, China», Vert. Palasiatica, 22(4), 294 – 305 [in Chinese with English summary].

Ivakhnenko M. F. (1981), «Discosauriscidae from Permian of Tajikistan», Paleontol. Zh., 1, 114 – 128 [in Russian].

Ivakhnenko M. F. (1987), «Permian Parareptilia of USSR», Trudy Paleontol. Inst., 223.

Klembara J. (1992), «The first record of pit-lines and foraminal pits in tetrapods and the problem of the skull roof bones homology between tetrapods and fishes», Geol. Carpathica, 42(4), 249 – 252.

Klembara J. (1994), «Electroreceptors in the Lower Permian tetrapod Discosauriscus austriacus», Palaeontology, 37(3), 609 – 626.

Klembara J. (1995), «The external gills and ornamentation of the skull roof bones of the Lower Permian tetrapod Discosauriscus with remarks to its ontogeny», Paläontol. Z., 69, 265 – 281.

Klembara J. (1996), «The lateral line system of Discosauriscus austriacus (Makowsky 1876) and the homologization of skull roof bones between tetrapods and fishes», Palaeontographica. Abt. A, 240.

Klembara J. and Meszároš Š. (1992), «New Finds of Discosauriscus austriacus (Makowsky 1876) from the Lower Permian of Boskovice Furrow (Czecho-Slovakia)», Geol. Carpathica, 43(5), 305 – 312.

Klembara J. (1997), «The cranial anatomy of Discosauriscus Kuhn, a seymouriamorph tetrapod from the Lower Perman of Boscovice Furrow (Czech Republic)», Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B, 352, 257 – 302

Klembara J. and Bartik I. (in press), «The postcranial skeleton of Discosauriscus Kuhn, a seymouriamorph from the Lower Permian of the Boskovice Furrow (Czech Republic)», Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh. Earth Sci.

Kuzmin S. L. (1999), Amphibians of the Former USSR, Moscow [in Russian].

Kuznetsov V. V. and Ivakhnenko M. F. (1981), «Discosauriscids from Upper Paleozoic of Southern Kazakhstan», Paleontol. Zh., 3, 102 – 110 [in Russian].

Laurin M. (1995), «Comparative Cranial Anatomy of Seymouria sanjuanensis (Tetrapoda: Batrachosauria) from the Lower Permian of Utah and New Mexico», GeoBios, 16(4), 1 – 8.

Laurin M. (1996a), «A redescription of the Cranial Anatomy of Seymouria baylorensis, the best-known Seymouriamorph (Vertebrata: Seymouriamorpha)», PaleoBios, 17(1), 1 – 16.

Laurin M. (1996b), «A reappraisal of Utegenia, a Permo-Carboniferous seymouriamorph (Tetrapoda: Batrachosauria) from Kazakhstan», J. Vertebr. Paleontol., 16(3), 374 – 383.

Laurin M. (1996c), «A reevaluation of Ariekanerpeton, a Low Permian seymouriamorph (Vertebrata: Seymouriamorpha) from Tajikistan», J. Vertebr. Paleontol., 16(4), 653 – 665.

Laurin M. (1998), «The importance of global parsimony and historical bias in understanding tetrapod evolution. Part 2. Vertebral centrum, costal ventilation and paedomorphosis», Ann. Sci. Nat., 2, 99 – 114.

Lebedkina N. S. (1979), Evolution of Amphibian Skull, Moscow [in Russian].

Litvinchuk S. N., Rudyk A. M., and Borkin L. J. (1996), «Observations on paedomorphic newts (Triturus vulgaris) from the former Soviet Union», Russ. J. Herpetol., 3(1), 39 – 49.

Maderson P. F. A., Alberch P., Goodwin B. C., et al. (1982), «The role of development in macroevolutionary change», Evolution and Development, J. T. Bonner (ed.), Berlin – Heidelberg – New York, pp. 279 – 312.

Maglia A. M. and Pùgener L. Analìa (1998), «Skeletal development and adult osteology of Bombina orientalis (Anura: Bobminatoridae)», Herpetologica, 54(3), 344 – 363.

Raff R. A. and Kaufmann Th. (1983), Embryos, Genes and Evolution, Mcmillan, New York.

Rjabinin A. B. (1911), «Debris de Stégocéphales trouvés áux mines de Kargala, gouv. d’Orenbourg», Izv. Geol. Komit., 30, 25 – 37 [in Russian with French summary].

Romer A. S. and Parsons T. (1992), Vertebrate Anatomy, Vol. 1, Moscow [in Russian].

Shchegolev A. K. (1964), «Flora differentiation in Late Carboniferous of Westphalian province», in: Problems of Organic Development Regularities and Forms, Moscow, pp. 158 – 170 [in Russian].

Sinitsyn V. M. (1962), Paleogeography of Asia, Moscow [in Russian].

Sinitsyn V. M. (1967), An Introduction to Paleoclimatology, Leningrad [in Russian].

Smirnov S. V. (1991), «Paedomorphosis as a mechanism of evolutionary transformation», in: Modern Evolutionary Morphology, E. I. Vorobjeva and E. I. Vronskiy (eds.), Kiev, Naukova Dumka, pp. 88 – 104 [in Russian].

Smirnov S. V. (1999), »Paedomorphic origin of the anurans: a new approach to prove it», Russ. J. Herpetol., 6(2), 118 – 124

Taylor B. E. and Scott D. E. (1997), «Effects of larval density dependence on population dynamics of Ambystoma opacum», Herpetologica, 53(1), 132 – 145.

Tejedo M. and Reques R. (1994), «Does larval growth history determine timing of metamorphosis in anurans? A field experiment», Herpetologica, 50(2), 113 – 118.

Vorobyeva E. I. (1992), The Origin of Terrestrial Vertebrates, Moscow [in Russian].

Vorobyeva E. I., Borkhvardt V., and Hincliffe J. R. (1995), «Limb development in the Siberian Newt (Salamandrella keyserlingii)», in: Abstrs. of the XII Int. Symp. Morphol. Sci., p. 234.

Vorobyeva E. I. and Hincliffe J. R. (1996), «Developmental patterns and morphology of Salamandrella keyserlingii limbs (Amphibia: Hynobiidae) including some evolutionary aspects», Russ. J. Herpetol., 3(1), 68 – 82.

Zalessky M. D. (1938), «Global climatic zones in Carboniferous and Permian», Probl. Paleontol., IV, 333 – 362 [in Russian].



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email