Iberospondylus

Name: Iberospondylus ‭(‬Iberian vertebra‭)‬.
Phonetic: Eye-be-ro-spon-de-lus.
Named By: Michel Laurin‭ & ‬Rodrigo Soler-Gijon‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Amphibia,‭ ‬Temnospondyli.
Species: I.‭ ‬schultzei‭ (‬type‭).
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: Unavailable.
Known locations: Spain.
Time period: Late Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and post cranial skeletal remains of a few individuals.

       Iberospondylus is a genus of temnospondyl amphibian that lived in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain during the late Carboniferous.‭ ‬Two interesting points about Iberospondylus are that the genus is one of the oldest known,‭ ‬and extends the range of such creatures living in Spain by forty-five million years.‭ ‬Additionally,‭ ‬fossils of Iberospondylus have been recovered from coastal sediments,‭ ‬raising the possibility that Iberospondylus may have hunted is salt water.‭ ‬Previously this has been thought to impossible due to salts in sea water passing through the skin of an amphibian through osmosis.‭ ‬But if Iberospondylus found a way to adapt then this would force a serious rethink about what we thought we know.
       There could however be two more mundane explanations to explain the presence of temnoposndyl amphibians on the coast.‭ ‬One could be that the bodies of dead Iberospondylus were simply washed downstream and deposited before they were swept all the way out to sea.‭ ‬Another could be that Iberospondylus were simply hunting in freshwater lagoons near the coastline.‭ ‬Freshwater lagoons however may actually be a clue to how a species could develop tolerance for salt water.‭ ‬With a‭ ‘‬salt‭’ ‬level somewhere between what is between a fresh land deposit and what is in the sea,‭ ‬successive generations of a species might be able to develop an increased tolerance to the salts before entering waters with higher concentrations.
       As always there are more questions and theories than definitive answers,‭ ‬but nature has a way of proving long established ideas wrong,‭ ‬and there is no telling what might be discovered in the future.

Further reading
-‭ ‬The oldest stegocephalian from the Iberian Peninsula:‭ ‬evidence that temnospondyls were euryhaline.‭ ‬-Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences,‭ ‬Series III‭ ‬-‭ ‬Sciences de la Vie‭ ‬324‭(‬5‭)‬:495-501.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Michel Laurin‭ & ‬Rodrigo Soler-Gijon‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001.



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