What amphibians are living today?

Dinosaur Ancestors Read more from
Chapter Evolution of the Dinosaurs

Names of modern amphibians are familiar to us: frogs, toads, salamanders, newts. They represent the descendants of groups that did not become extinct at the end of the Mesozoic era (when dinosaurs died out). Of the modern amphibians, the newts and salamanders are probably the most similar to the early amphibians, although the modern-day versions are much smaller.

The vertebrate class Amphibia today includes about 3,500 species in three orders: frogs and toads (order Anura), salamanders and newts (order Caudata), and caecilians (order Gymnophiona). There is, however, a much larger number of extinct species of amphibians: this ancient group of animals were the first vertebrates to begin exploiting terrestrial environments, where they became prey for other species.


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