A new article entitled Temnospondyli bite club: ecomorphological patterns of the most diverse group of early tetrapods in the “Journal of evolutionary Biology” by J. Fortuny, J. Marcé-Nogué, S. de Esteban-Trivigno, L. Gil and À. Galobart available online in this link.
Temnospondyls were a successful group of early tetrapods that lived during the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic periods. Different ecomorphotypes were present (terrestrial, amphibious and fully aquatic) with a wide range of lifestyles. Herein, we analysed several clades of temnospondyls using geometric morphometrics, Finite Element Analysis, and comparative phylogenetic analysis. Some temnospondyli clades were ‘crocodilomorph’ feeding analogues. The skull analysis reveals a concordance between form and feeding function, in amphibious and fully aquatic feeders. The form of terrestrial feeders could be consequences of adaptative or phylogenetical constraints. Basal temnospondyls, as edopoids, were able to leave the water and feed on land. Eryopids continued as terrestrial feeders, although some members showed a shift to increased aquatic feeding. The aquatic environment was especially occupied by archegosaurs during the Permian. After the Permo-Triassic extinction, trematosaurs and capitosaurs returned to the aquatic environment and their members were amphibious and fully aquatic feeders until their disappearance.