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300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

This is a Press Information page entitled 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania within the Press / News Items section of Caudata.org --- Philadelphia Inquirer (AP), March 17th, 2010 PITTSBURGH - A fossilized skull found by a former University of Pittsburgh geology student on Pennsylvania land owned by ...

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Old 18th March 2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Inquirer (AP), March 17th, 2010

PITTSBURGH - A fossilized skull found by a former University of Pittsburgh geology student on Pennsylvania land owned by Federal Express is that of a carnivorous amphibian that some scientists believe predates dinosaurs, officials at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History said.

David Berman, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the museum, said the fossil was about 300 million years old.

It has been named Fedexia striegeli after the place where it was found and the last name of the man who found it - Adam Striegel.

Striegel, now a second-grade teacher in Rockville, Md., was a senior at Pitt when he found the fossil during a 2004 field trip on the tract near Pittsburgh International Airport, about 10 miles west of the city.

"I honestly just reached down and picked up a rock," Striegel said. "I wish there was something more amazing about it. The professor had just said we might find something there and most likely we would find plant fossils."

Berman said he got permission to keep the fossil from FedEx. The museum is making casts of the skull to give back to the company.

The fossil is the first found in Western Pennsylvania of a newly discovered family of amphibians known as Trematopidae.

Berman discovered a similar fossil in New Mexico, while another has been found in Kansas.

The five-inch skull suggests an animal about two feet long that looked like a giant salamander. Its relatively large, canine-like teeth suggest it ate smaller amphibians and insects, Berman said.

Pitt student finds 300 million-year-old fossil | Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/17/2010



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Old 18th March 2010   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

Very cool! I feel I should point out that this animal is not a salamander; it belongs to an ancient group called the temnospondyls, which are not closely related to any living vertebrates.



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Old 18th March 2010   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

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Originally Posted by Nathan View Post
Very cool! I feel I should point out that this animal is not a salamander; it belongs to an ancient group called the temnospondyls, which are not closely related to any living vertebrates.
This got me thinking what is the oldest record of a bona fide salamander and I found this link:

New salamander species provide new answers to old questions in evolution

Does anyone know any older examples?



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Old 19th March 2010   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

I am pretty sure Karaurus is one of the oldest salamander fossils.



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Old 19th March 2010   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 300 million-year-old salamander fossil found in Pennsylvania

Contrary to popular belief, this fossil is not my father, nor in any way related to me.

Finds like this interest me to no end. As a former Pennsylvanian, fossils have always fascinated me. Caudate fossils even more so now.



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