Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trimerorhachis

It would be a good idea to write this down, because I'm definitely not going to be able to spell it twice - Trimerorhachis is an amphibian that looks just like a modern mudpuppy, except that it comes equipped for battle. We think of frogs and salamanders as having soft skin, but this species is covered in bony armor.

As it turns out, nearly all of the amphibians found in the Texas Red Beds are similarly battle-ready, covered everywhere with armor. As Dr. Bakker puts it, "You could hit them repeatedly with a hammer and not slow them down." Why? What did they need this protection for? And what made modern amphibians get rid of it?

Fossils from this species are surprisingly rare at the dig teams' site, though they have found pieces of a skull at the main site.

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