Definition of lepospondyl in US English:



  • An extinct, early amphibian of the Carboniferous and Permian periods, distinguished by vertebrae shaped liked hourglasses.

    Microsauria and related orders, formerly placed in the subclass Lepospondyli

    • ‘It is assumed that lepospondyls were physiologically amphibians in lacking the extraembryonic membranes of amniotes and laying their eggs in the water.’
    • ‘This may be supported by the observation that in other elongate lepospondyls showing limb reduction there is first a reduction in the number of digits and the size of the limb.’
    • ‘At this point, temnospondyls, lepospondyls and reptilomorphs diverged.’
    • ‘In some lepospondyls, and in frogs and salamanders, the surangular is absent.’
    • ‘Furthermore, in no other lepospondyl is the parietal foramen found on the parietal-postparietal suture, as would be required following McGinnis' hypothesis.’


1930s: from modern Latin Lepospondyli (plural), from Greek lepos ‘husk’ + spondulos ‘vertebra’.