Definition of temnospondyl in US English:



  • An extinct amphibian of a large group that was dominant from the Carboniferous to the Triassic.

    Order (or grade) Temnospondyli: many families

    • ‘The most diverse assemblage are the labyrinthodonts, consisting of temnospondyls and anthracosaurs.’
    • ‘If frogs and salamanders both evolved from temnospondyls, and amniotes from anthracosaurs, then these amphibian orders did have a more recent common ancestry than either had with amniotes.’
    • ‘At this point, temnospondyls, lepospondyls and reptilomorphs diverged.’
    • ‘Many Carboniferous temnospondyls appear to have been primarily terrestrial in habits, with strong limbs, but no lateral line canals.’
    • ‘However, some Triassic temnospondyls, such as Laidleria, exhibit the pattern of Dendrerpeton, with the jugal and prefrontal broadly sutured, and the orbits well back on the skull.’


Early 20th century: from modern Latin Temnospondyli (plural), from Greek temnein ‘to cut’ + spondulos ‘vertebra’.