Named By: Smithson and Rolfe - 1990.
Classification: Chordata, Amphibia, Reptiliomorpha, Eureptilia, Captorhinidae (Precise classification is still not certain).
Species: W. lizziae (type).
Size: 20 centimeteres long.
Known locations: Scotland, Westlothian.
Time period: Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Two almost complete skeletons.
has caused some confusion among researchers as to whether it should be
called reptile or amphibian. While it does have some reptilian
features such as no otic notch and unfused ankle bones, the main
skeletal structure has features that are reminiscent of the early
terrestrial amphibians. This has led to the term ‘primitive
amniote’, and as such Westlothiana would mark
precursor to the creatures that would be regarded as true reptiles.
The overall morphology of Westlothiana was probably very similar to today’s lizards, and it probably lived among the forest litter hunting for small invertebrates.
- Westlothiana gen. nov. :naming the earliest known reptile. Scottish Journal of Geology no 26, pp 137–138. - T. R. Smithson & W. D. I. Rolfe - 1990.
- Westlothiana lizziae from the Visťan of East Kirkton, West Lothian, Scotland, and the amniote stem. - Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 84 (3–4): 383–412. - S. M. Andrews - 1993.