Named By: Thomas Henry Huxley - 1863.
Classification: Chordata, Amphibia, Reptiliomorpha, Embolomeri, Anthracosauridae.
Species: A. russelli (type).
Size: Skull 40 centimetres long, body estimated up to about 3 meters long.
Known locations: England and Scotland.
Time period: Moscovian of the Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Skull fragments.
is believed to have been a member of the Embolomeri, a sub group of
the reptilomorphs. So far only elements of the skull are known, but
if Anthracosaurus had a body similar in form to it
then the body and tail would have been long and slender and
up to about three meters long. Long, slender bodies that are termed
eel-like are commonly seen in carboniferous vertebrates since they
allowed for easier navigation through clogged carboniferous swamps and
water systems. Aside from some amphibians and reptilomorphs,
sharks also display elongated eel-like body forms.
Anthracosaurus had long sharp teeth in its jaws, and also a second set on the roof of its mouth. These would have been used to spear and trap soft bodied prey such as fish and even other amphibians, which then would probably be swallowed whole.
- Description of Anthracosaurus russelli, a new labyrinthodont form the Lanarkshire coal field, Thomas Henry Huxley - 1863.
- On Anthracosaurus russelli Huxley (Amphibia: Labyrinthodontia) and the family Anthracosauridae, A. L. Panchen - 1977.
- Two new specimens of Anthracosaurus (Amphibia: Anthracosauria) from the Northumberland Coal Measures, Jennifer A. Clack - 1987.