When Giant Amphibians Reigned

  • Published: 09 October 2018
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    Temnospondyls were a huge group of amphibians that existed for 210 million years. And calling them ‘diverse’ would be putting it mildly. Yet in the end, two major threats would push them to extinction: the always-changing climate and the amniote egg.

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the very cool Temnospondyl reconstructions throughout this episode. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at alphynix.tumblr.com and nixillustration.com

    And thanks as always to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart: spinops.blogspot.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: office-2016.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, Svetlana Pylaeva, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao. Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Joshua Mitchell, Johnny Li, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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    Gaining Ground: The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods, Second Edition by Jennifer A. Clack.
    The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution by Robert Carroll.
    Amphibian Evolution: The Life of Early Land Vertebrates by Rainer R. Schoch.
    Earth Before the Dinosaurs by Sebastian Steyer.
    How Vertebrates Left the Water by Michel Laurin.
    The Late Triassic World: Earth in a Time of Transition, edited by Lawrence H. Tanner.
    The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Explorers and the Wonders of Evolution by Donald R. Prothero.
    “Fishes and Amphibians From the Late Permian Pedra De Fogo Formation of Northern Brazil” by Cox and Barry, 1991.
    “Lower Triassic Temnospondyli of Tasmania” by Cogsgriff, 1974.
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 934

  • Nick Hoffman
    Nick Hoffman  4 hours back

    has the placenta episode happened yet??

    • Ahmed Ashraf
      Ahmed Ashraf  6 days back

      Hay, where is our placentas episode?

      • Stefan The RainbowPhoenix

        Does Steve have a surname? And why is he always named last?

        • Paul Mulcahy
          Paul Mulcahy  3 weeks back

          Where do toads fit in in all this?

          • Ice G
            Ice G  4 weeks back

            So, Amphibians are Water/ Ground type.. interesting..

            • Jordan Brown
              Jordan Brown  4 weeks back

              6:22 had me dying! 😂

              • Richard Paxford
                Richard Paxford  1 months back

                You guys should totally team up with Zefrank1 and do: "True Facts about The Fossil" 😊

                • Miranda Wilson
                  Miranda Wilson  1 months back

                  and this is what has remained

                  • Holycraposaurus
                    Holycraposaurus  1 months back

                    i love dis. but please somebody tell this guy to speak less hastily.

                    • Sillyg0053
                      Sillyg0053  1 months back

                      But whats in the wierd front zipper

                      • Pokenerd 7X
                        Pokenerd 7X  1 months back

                        TierZoo should do a, "When Amphibians were top class" vid. Seeing as how S class amphibians were pretty cool.

                        • Nick Helder
                          Nick Helder  1 months back

                          Where's our video on placentas

                          • i'm a alien
                            i'm a alien  1 months back

                            Shoulda called this Koolasuchus and the Gang.

                            • Erin Rising
                              Erin Rising  1 months back

                              And one day will again (any Voyager fans?)

                              • Magicaparanoia
                                Magicaparanoia  1 months back

                                Do a video about cooking in the Paleolithic

                                • Cedar Bobedar
                                  Cedar Bobedar  1 months back

                                  Wonder how that placenta episode is going

                                  • Carl Story
                                    Carl Story  1 months back

                                    I understand the human race had a bottle neck where only 100 adults lived through. Could that event be what killed the neanderthals?

                                  • Brad Di Pietro
                                    Brad Di Pietro  1 months back

                                    Giant Japanese Salmander must be a relative.

                                    • Augusto Pinochet
                                      Augusto Pinochet  1 months back

                                      Damn I wish it was possible to go back in time to to see animals like these walking and swimming around

                                      • Kiernan Fay
                                        Kiernan Fay  1 months back

                                        @ 2:30 that amphibian has gills outside of the water, was there an amphibian that retains it's gills that also developed lungs stable enough to be semi-terrestrial?

                                        • Reverse Universe
                                          Reverse Universe  1 months back

                                          Cool 👍

                                          • Robert estrada
                                            Robert estrada  1 months back

                                            What happened to the placenta episode lol

                                            • Andy Miron
                                              Andy Miron  2 months back

                                              Who is STEVE?

                                              • Kevin Escorpien
                                                Kevin Escorpien  2 months back

                                                I'm not 100% on this, but that red-backed salamander at 1:42 looks a lot like an eastern newt in the eft stage. All the red-backs I've seen (or seen pictures of) are darker on the sides than the top. And those look like res spots down the back. Any herpetologists reading this can tell me whether I'm mistaken?

                                                • Art blender
                                                  Art blender  2 months back

                                                  WHERE IS THE PLACENTA VIDEO!?
                                                  honestly, I'm joking however that sounds incredible

                                                  • Skooby Doofus
                                                    Skooby Doofus  2 months back

                                                    Blake: "...Frog like teeth, as well"
                                                    Me: "Frogs have teeth?"

                                                    • Mack McCallister
                                                      Mack McCallister  2 months back

                                                      I've always wondered if T-rex wasn't a hopping around insectivor munching on big bugs of the Jerassic?

                                                      • Ti SH
                                                        Ti SH  2 months back

                                                        Please make a video about why and how we are the only naked primates. ^_^

                                                        • prism z
                                                          prism z  2 months back

                                                          Is anyone else still waiting for that video about placentas?

                                                          • dragonamt
                                                            dragonamt  2 months back

                                                            One thing wrong with your illustrations, there is grass. There was DEFINITELY no grass in the Permian.

                                                            • Kris MD
                                                              Kris MD  2 months back

                                                              I demand answers, PBS Eons

                                                              • Larissa Rose Tracey Nuñez-Hill

                                                                Can we talk about monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammal. Maybe you could do a video all about monotremes extant and extinct.

                                                                • Michael Southcott
                                                                  Michael Southcott  2 months back

                                                                  This seems like a planet of survivors. The mighty lineages of crocodilians are represented today by the cayman, alligator and crocidiles, just as the vast array of amphibians are represented by the salamanders, frogs, toads  and others lissamphibians . Entire classes of dinosaurs have been reduced to the avian lineage. It seems as if the stresses and pressures brought about by the permian extinction and the rise of the dinosaurs setup the surviving mammalians to finally dominate the planet again.

                                                                  • Shadow Deslar
                                                                    Shadow Deslar  2 months back

                                                                    What about
                                                                    Giant snakes

                                                                    • Rederance
                                                                      Rederance  3 months back

                                                                      I do have a question. Would the modern Giant Salamanders like Hell Benders and the Chinese Giant Salamander be counted in the same groups as the prehistoric amphibians like Koolasuchus and Metoposaurs? That's always bothered me. Like they share many common attributes as well as size to a certain extent.

                                                                      • Seow Siong Yap
                                                                        Seow Siong Yap  3 months back

                                                                        What is Koolasuchus???

                                                                        • Michael M.
                                                                          Michael M.  3 months back

                                                                          Do humans have plant DNA from the first cells?

                                                                          • Michael M.
                                                                            Michael M.  3 months back

                                                                            Have all species been on the top of the food chain at some point.

                                                                            • Michael M.
                                                                              Michael M.  3 months back

                                                                              So if some plants can clone them selves is it possible that the plants today are clones of the first plant. And what about plants that can't clone?

                                                                              • Ander Ander
                                                                                Ander Ander  3 months back

                                                                                " Earth's always changing climate" yet this same station will virtue signal about global warming

                                                                                • Jennie Ellis
                                                                                  Jennie Ellis  3 months back

                                                                                  Did you ever make a placenta video!? I'd love to watch

                                                                                  • Sylwia Bukato
                                                                                    Sylwia Bukato  3 months back

                                                                                    Born in the wrong age 😢

                                                                                    • Mickey McGowan
                                                                                      Mickey McGowan  3 months back


                                                                                      • Mickey McGowan
                                                                                        Mickey McGowan  3 months back

                                                                                        6:32 NO someone needs a spraybottle or a slap or something talking into your phone is eehk dont do that dont take your phone out while youre doing a talky weird background thing. Bad.

                                                                                        • Digital Chameleon
                                                                                          Digital Chameleon  3 months back

                                                                                          Amazing. Great delivery, subbed and after looking at what else you have done, phew gonna be some hours spent here now. Peace buddy thanks.

                                                                                          • Nicole nicole
                                                                                            Nicole nicole  3 months back

                                                                                            He never made a video about placentas!

                                                                                            • Sean Stockton
                                                                                              Sean Stockton  3 months back

                                                                                              and steve

                                                                                              • Kohlenstoffisotop12
                                                                                                Kohlenstoffisotop12  3 months back

                                                                                                Mmmh, Steeeve :D