240-Million-Year-Old Giant Amphibian Discovered in Retaining Wall

Arenaerpeton supinatus

An artist’s impression of Arenaerpeton supinatus, the ancestor of today’s Chinese Giant Salamander. Credit: Jose Vitor Silva

Arenaerpeton supinatus was discovered in rocks cut from a nearby quarry that were intended for the building of a garden wall.

A 240-million-year-old fossil of an amphibian was found in a retaining wall in the 1990s. This significant find has now been formally named and described by scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) and the Australian Museum.

The fossil was originally discovered by a retired chicken farmer in rocks from a local quarry. These rocks were intended for use in constructing a garden retaining wall, and the fossil was subsequently donated to the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Description of Arenaerpeton supinatus

Palaeontologist Lachlan Hart, who holds joint roles with UNSW Science and the Australian Museum, says the fossil – named Arenaerpeton supinatus, meaning ‘supine sand creeper’ – shows nearly the entire skeleton, and remarkably, the outlines of its skin.

Arenaerpeton supinatus Fossil

Arenaerpeton looks a lot like the modern Chinese Giant Salamander. Credit: UNSW Sydney/Richard Freeman

“This fossil is a unique example of a group of extinct animals known as temnospondyls, which lived before and during the time of the dinosaurs,” says Mr. Hart, a PhD candidate in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) at UNSW.

“We don’t often find skeletons with the head and body still attached, and the soft tissue preservation is an even rarer occurrence.”

Habitat and Appearance

Arenaerpeton inhabited freshwater rivers in what is now known as the Sydney Basin during the Triassic period, 240 million years ago. Mr. Hart says it most likely hunted other ancient fish such as Cleithrolepis, but apart from that, there is not much evidence that tells us about the other animals that Arenaerpeton shared the land and waters with.

Lachlan Hart

Lachlan Hart says the fossil is a unique example of a group of extinct animals known as temnospondyls, which lived before and during the time of the dinosaurs. Credit: UNSW Sydney/Richard Freeman

“Superficially, Arenaerpeton looks a lot like the modern Chinese Giant Salamander, especially in the shape of its head,” Mr. Hart says.

“However, from the size of the ribs and the soft tissue outline preserved on the fossil we can see that it was considerably more heavyset than its living descendants. It also had some pretty gnarly teeth, including a pair of fang-like tusks on the roof of its mouth.”

Importance of the Discovery

Mr. Hart says what is exciting about the discovery is that Arenaerpeton is large – estimated to be about 1.2m from head to tail – when most other closely related animals that lived at the same time were small.

“The last of the temnospondyls were in Australia 120 million years after Arenaerpeton, and some grew to massive sizes. The fossil record of temnospondyls spans across two mass extinction events, so perhaps this evolution of increased size aided in their longevity.”

Dr. Matthew McCurry, Senior Lecturer in UNSW’s School of BEES and Curator of Palaeontology at the Australian Museum says the fossil is a significant find in Australian paleo history.

“This is one of the most important fossils found in New South Wales in the past 30 years, so it is exciting to formally describe it,” says Dr. McCurry, who is also a co-author on the study. “It represents a key part of Australia’s fossil heritage.”

The study was recently published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Later this year, the fossil will be on display at the Australian Museum, Sydney.

Reference: “A new chigutisaurid (Brachyopoidea, Temnospondyli) with soft tissue preservation from the Triassic Sydney Basin, New South Wales, Australia” by Lachlan J. Hart, Bryan M. Gee, Patrick M. Smith and Matthew R. McCurry, 3 August 2023, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2023.2232829

54 Comments on "240-Million-Year-Old Giant Amphibian Discovered in Retaining Wall"

  1. Another fairy tale

  2. That guy really wanted his picture with them bones

  3. Always trying to come up w crap to make masses believe the earth is way older than it actually is

    • TwohundredFourtyTrillionCenturiesAgo | August 22, 2023 at 7:19 am | Reply

      Yeah, something about when they put pictures of themselves in the news story and they have this look about them, where they look like they are saying go ahead eat this manufactured ridiculousness up. We know you will despite never providing a shred of evidence we didn’t just make it.

      • Science & Religion can shake hands & work together. What is interesting is that where scientists said some of the old cities in the bible were just stories…..have since been found & verified….like Gomorrah….with many of the city’s old structures found charred!….just like what the Bible said happened to that city…..sure…it could couod have come from an asteroid strike….thing is….nobody really knows.

  4. That pic reminds me of the Nirvana album cover with baby in water.

  5. It’s hard to believe that people who claim to be religious are still so idiotic as to not believe in evolution. They always demand proof even though when you ask them for proof of a god, they point to a mythical storybook and claim it’s the only proof anyone needs. Science before mythology people!

    • Amen, my man! I one hundred percent agree, science is science…if yall religious people can show me at least ONE peer reviewed, published scientific article that proves that God is real, THEN we can talk.

    • Scientists are feeding everybody more garbage than you believe. They say Earth is over 350 million years old, how can they truly prove it’s that old? They’re just guessing and I don’t buy it. There’s no harm in believing in God and Jesus, people say what if it isn’t real, time wasted right. If you believe and there isn’t anything after death then you don’t lose anything BUT what if it is. I don’t believe in the big bang theory either, I believe in the God theory.

      • <>

        just a guess huh? bible is nothing more than a book written way before even science existed…people before we learn about the circle of water believed in stuff like god of water who was responsible for it, now that we know it those beliefs are gone…same for the bible, you guys just try to rule over with a made up idea, what do you think that religions before christianity were for the world? Exactly, they were the same thing everyone believed in them the way you believe in your religion now and look what happened, those religions are gone, if religion was reality then throughout the whole history of mankind and in every corner of the planet everyone would believe in the same religion but this is not the case

        i wont try changing your mind and i dont answer back in such websites because if you really wanted to be educated you could do it right now we live in an age where you can have all the information in the palm of your hands, have a great day and i wish at some point you come out of the middle ages

        • methods of calculating the age of earth?

          thank me later

          • They have examined rocks from the moon and from meteorites, neither of which have been altered by the rock cycle. The same techniques of radiometric dating have been used on those rocks. All the data from Earth and beyond has led to the estimated age of 4.5 billion years for our planet.

      • God theory does not inevitably prove carbon dating wrong or right.carbon dating is correct. Because we as humans built the construct of time itself. God knows no time at all so it isn’t right to try to put a frame on a time that God would build the earth because he doesn’t see it that way. The Bible never said that the six days that he built the earth were back-to-back in consecutive immediately. If a thousand of our years is roughly equal to one of his days. It would be respectful to understand he took his time building in between those days letting the ground ferment etc etc etc and thinking about his next step not just throwing it together. So in between those creation days that he did do that were very general in the Bible if he rested thousands of his years thinking about his next step before proceeding with the next day that would be billions of our years. You have to understand that the reason why the Bible was written so generally was for humans to give homage to God. The reason for not mentioning some of these things like dinosaurs, prehumanoid animals etc was because they weren’t important to glorifying God, so in turn they were not necessary for the Bible. God would not have been so in a hurry to slap the world together in six consecutive days because he doesn’t have a concept of time and our sense. So in closing the Bible says the God said let’s build man in our image respectively Van Gogh didn’t take one day to do any of the art that he did. he took his time so did every other artist ever to be famous. has never just slap it together. So it would be foolish to think that he did.

  6. First not bones! Fossil very different thing.
    Second ‘trying to show the planet is way older than it is?’ You should not be allowed to use scissors!
    Third, Carbon dating is a thing, it is science not faith. Maybe read something other than the bible?


      • we are not taking it away from you, we are simply telling you to learn to tell apart what is what, i love for example reading mythology i like the ideas our ancestors came up with but i am able to recognize they are just myths and in reality those never happened…same thing you need to do, just recognize what religion is and what science

  7. Maria Angelica C. Bulay | August 22, 2023 at 7:25 pm | Reply

    Angel Bulay of the Philippines.
    For the interest of humanity, go for it, discover those whc might have been erased by the Lord because dinos & the like would just eat up each other, & that was it — our seafood first before theirs.

  8. Why do the science sceptic even bother to read these stories… OH!that’s right so they can get on their high horse and preach to us bottom-feeders who are actually interested in it…
    Dear Bible readers… you are NOT!!! reading the word of God… you’re reading the word of MAN!!! Man wrote the Bible!!!🥴

    • AMEN…science. Is. Science. The earth was NOT created in seven days, and humans evolved from microorganisms. Boom. If yall Christians can show me at least 10 pieces of evidence that the big bang didn’t happen, maybe then you get the right to talk about science.

      • Ok so I’m guessing you believe we evolved from apes too. If that were true, why are there still apes today? Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and IF God isn’t real we won’t lose out on anything but I believe there’s a God. Our universe didn’t just pop out of nothing, it was created. I believe in some science but most is just what they want you to believe

        • you are wrong, we didnt evolve from apes we evolved from a common ancestor, we are already a kind of primate


      • Which God and which language? The Bible was not written in just one language. I believe in God but some of you people cannot construct even the simplist logical proof. I’ll pray for your enlightenment in this lifetime.

      • what did he write? this paper? lmao

  9. It’s simple and it’s not about words. We are not a human with a soul but soul with a human. Soul from the light and sound…of what ever God that humbles your egomaniac mind…if thats possible…Soul has lived a million lives on this earth (mostly short lived of course) as every critter possible,evolving in self-awareness, up through the food chain. Learning how to eat and not be eaten etc. This is how Soul earned instincts and intuition.
    Not from being told but by actually realizing it.
    Soul travel, Eckankar.
    Hopefully will be the edge we need over AI.
    EGO/mind is only a tool for soul. Soul is master.
    Try looking up. Because Where we look is Where we go. Thanks for your attention.


    • Well what science proves that we’re descended from a God? We evolved. Millions of studies have been done. Science is science, no matter what you tell yourself. Take it or leave it, but the earth was not created in seven days. Carbon dating is real. Tell yourself what you want, but science overrides faith at the end of the day.

      • a wise man once told me, maybe there is or there isnt a god,but how would humanity be if no one believed in god? we all need something to believe in. its what keeps us sane. well most of us

        • we needed something to believe in because there was no information about anything, people thought “how did this happen?” and because back then they didnt have the time, tools, knowledge and capabilities of finding the answer with actual researching they tried to come up with ideas…this still exists today and its called speculation but as new knowledge is found on the topic speculation is replaced by facts…unfortunately though judging from this comment section people prefer to stay with the speculation and not see the facts

          • Omg, Carlos, you’re the man. I agree with literally everything you’re saying, cause guys;…religion just. Isn’t. True. We know now how the world REALLY works, and yall are still living in the middle ages. And there is absolutely NO justification to you guys preaching and shoving Christianity down our throats, like that’s so wrong of you. Get over it, man up, and accept that the world is different now. Science is fact, not feelings.

      • Science is made up of facts by man. Who can’t cure cancer or the common cold. Maybe if they lose their big paychecks, they would find some answers. Government research is a big waste on a lot of projects. Have you ever considered or even looked at what the government spends your tax money on.?

    • So true. There’s a lot of people in for a big awakening.


  12. Christie Ernest | August 23, 2023 at 10:20 am | Reply

    Thank you 👍🙏👍

  13. Lololol well said Eva. I don’t see fish crawling out of water evolving into humans nor apes evolving into humans. Boy some pretty angry people out there. If you don’t want to believe in God hey knock yourselves out. Pretty sad existence though just to find yourself on your knees when you’re on your death bed. Even the greatest of atheists have found themselves crying out for God. I’m just saying. With that said.. bless your heart Eva u keep standing up for what is right 👍


  15. You religious freaks are idiots. Stay away from my kids. You are dangerous and delusional!

    • Agreed! Yall are on crack for real. GIVE ME PROOF. PROOF OF GOD. And I’ve clearly seen from these comments that you have NO proof, just blabber.

  16. this comment section is full of braindeads who never read anything other than the bible

  17. It’s a shame that because you don’t believe in something it isn’t real. Who do you call on when your child is sick or worst.? How many people called on God during 911 ? I believe in God. I need him in every moment of my life.
    Don’t belittle someone you don’t know. Because one day you will need God. Don’t be surprised if he’s not listening.

    • Okay you have no right to tell us that we’re gonna need a made up person. I’m doing just fine on my own, and so is the rest of the non-whack community. Tell me, why hasn’t God shown himself to modern man? Why havnt miracles occurred since ancient times? I’ll yell you why…because they never happened to being with. Yall are seriously delusional, you fr need help.

      • How do you know God has not shown himself. There are modern day miracles. Where have you been. God gave us a free will. If God showed himself that would take the power of faith away. Faith is a very powerful thing. I personally have experienced it. UT was the closest thing to magic I have ever seen. Amazing

  18. All of you are just some Smoked out hippies


    • Smoked out hippies?? Does that mean you are an uneducated redneck. What grade did you complete.

  19. Wow. Who knew discovering a new species would cause such an uproar between atheists and religious people. I think you are all wrong. If you ask me, God is Consciousness which lives in all of us. The singularity before the big bang. Non duality. The Bible tells stories to keep you in line and makes you fearful. We are all a part of one God which is an equivalent of our UNIverse. Look how many wars have started over religion?? Would your God allow that to its followers? Faith is a great thing to have, and so is science. But somewhere they have to meet in the middle!!!

  20. Allen the Thor | August 27, 2023 at 8:59 am | Reply


  21. At the end of this there is just people who believe in different things. There’s nothing wrong with that. I find it very amusing that your arguing about how you feel. It should not matter what anyone else believes. Believe in both, who cares, nobody except those who are arguing. Very comical

  22. If you do not believe in something you will fall for anything.

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