Definition of stereospondyl in US English:



  • An extinct amphibian with a broad flat head, occurring in the Permian and Triassic periods.

    Suborder Stereospondyli, order Temnospondyli: several families

    • ‘One lineage of stereospondyls, the Trematosauridae, actually took up a life in the oceans, the only stem tetrapods ever to have done so.’
    • ‘This is the first report of presumed stereospondyls from New Zealand.’
    • ‘According to our results, Sclerothorax is nested well within the higher stereospondyls, forming the sister taxon of capitosauroids.’
    • ‘Somewhere between the granddaddy stereospondyl and Trematosaurus there is a branch leading to hundreds of other species of stereospondyl, including metoposaurs, plagiosaurs, batrachosaurs and many, many others.’
    • ‘The exhibit showed the flat skull of the stereospondyls and explained that they had large and unusually flat skulls and that the bones were solidly fused.’


Early 20th century: from modern Latin Stereospondyli (plural), from Greek stereos ‘solid’ + spondulos ‘vertebra’.