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Platyhystrix and Peltobatrachus



A recurring feature of the land- living animals found in the Texas Red Beds is the presence of a sail on the back. It is found,most notably, among the reptiles in the pelycosaur group bur there was also at least one amphibian that showed a structure like this. Platyhystrix may have used its sail for temperature regulation or for signalling. (walking dinosaur costume)


Features:The spines grow upwards from the vertebrae, derived from armour plates that ran along the backs of earlier relatives (see the arrangement on Cacops). The spines are flat and expanded at the ends, and covered with coarse pits that suggest that in life they carried a sail of skin or even of horn. However, it seems that the skin sail did not continue to the tops of the spines - only about half way up.(animatronic dinosaur)




An obvious adaptation to life our of the water would be the evolution of armour, especially in the presence of such fierce terrestrial reptiles as existed in sourhern Africa in rhe late Permian. Peltobatrachus had an arrangement of armour over its upper surface that was reminiscent of the modern armadillo. With such an armour this animal could have been only a slow mover. However well it was adapted to land life, Peltobatrachus probably had to return to the water to lay its eggs.


Features: Many other primitive amphibians show a covering of armour plates, but none is quite as thorough as Peltobatrachus. The armour of Peltobatrachus consists of bony plates arranged over the shoulders and hips, and in transverse bands in between, in the same pattern as the armour of an armadillo. In life these bony plates would have been covered in horn. The teeth are unknown, but it seems likely that such a slow-moving animal would have eaten insects and other invertebrates. Comparison with closely related amphibians indicates that the jaws probably worked with a snapping action, similar to that of today’s angler fish.

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