, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 679–690 | Cite as

The oldest known tetrapod (Temnospondyli) from Germany (Early Carboniferous, Viséan)

  • Ralf WerneburgEmail author
  • Florian Witzmann
  • Joerg W. Schneider
Research Paper


A unique skull roof fragment of a relatively large-sized tetrapod of Viséan age from Chemnitz-Glösa, Saxony, is described. The specimen consists of three bones, an elongated supratemporal with a radially arranged dermal sculpture and the sulcus of the otical part of the infraorbital line, the medial portion of the squamosal which is sutured with the anterolateral supratemporal, and a small, strip-like tabular bone. A deep “otic notch” is indicated. This new tetrapod was predominantly aquatic, as indicated by the deep and relatively broad lateral line sulcus. The type of dermal sculpture and the configuration of the bones indicate that the specimen is probably an adult temnospondyl, with the course of the lateral lines resembling those of dvinosaurians. Together with Balanerpeton from Scotland, this is the geologically oldest temnospondyl and the oldest known tetrapod record in Germany up to now.


Temnospondyli Early Carboniferous Viséan Chemnitz-Glösa Saxony 



Paleontological collection of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Saxony


Otical part of the infraorbital line




Occipital lamella (descending flange)














Tabular process



The authors wish to thank Uwe Hofmann, Ines Jaschke, Birgit Gaitzsch, Harald Walter, and Thomas Wotte (all from Freiberg) for their help during the fieldwork at Glösa. We are grateful to Steffen Trümper for his help in preparing Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4. Research in the Hainichen basin was supported by grants DFG Schn 408/5 and 408/14 to JWS. In addition, the research work in the manuscript was supported by a subsidy to JWS from the Russian government to support the Program for Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University among the World’s Leading Academic Centers. Jason Anderson, Claudia Marsicano and Timothy Smithson greatly improved the manuscript with their constructive reviews. This paper aims to contribute to the tasks of the “Nonmarine–Marine Correlation Working Group” of the Subcommissions on Carboniferous (SCCS), on Permian (SPS), and on Triassic Stratigraphy (STS).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Naturhistorisches Museum Schloss Bertholdsburg SchleusingenSchleusingenGermany
  2. 2.Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity ScienceBerlinGermany
  3. 3.TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Institut für GeologieFreibergGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Geology and Petroleum TechnologiesKazan Federal UniversityKazanRussia

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