Nov. 5 (UPI) — An unusual group of extinct amphibians known as albanerpetontids used a rapid-fire tongue to catch prey, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science.
For years, albanerpetontids, called “albies” for short, have puzzled scientists. Despite claws, scales and tails that recall those of lizards, albies are officially amphibians.
Their lineage diverged from today’s frogs, salamanders and caecilians more than 165 million years ago, but the group only disappeared from the fossil record 2 million years ago.
“We are always interested in enigmatic extinct groups,” study co-author Susan Evans told UPI in an email.
“Albies are interesting and mysterious — in their specialized anatomy, in the fact that they became extinct only a couple of million years ago, in their distribution and lifestyle,” said Evans, professor of vertebrate morphology and paleontology at University College London and an albie expert.
Albies are noted for their