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Labyrinthodontia (Greek, "maze-toothed") is an extinct amphibian subclass, which constituted some of the dominant animals of late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras (about 360 to 150 million years ago). The group evolved from lobe-finned fishes in the Devonian and is ancestral to all extant landliving vertebrates. As such it constitutes an evolutionary grade (a paraphyletic group) rather than a natural group (clade). The name describes the pattern of infolding of the dentin and enamel of the teeth, which are often the only part of the creatures that fossilize. They are also distinguished by a heavily armoured skull roof (hence the older name "Stegocephalia"), and complex vertebrae, the structure of which is useful in older classifications of the group.

Because labyrinthodonts do not form a monophyletic group, many modern researchers have abandoned the term. However, some have continued to use the group in their classifications, at least informally, pending more detailed study of their relationships.

In popular culture

A labyrinthodont appears in BBC's walking with monsters.

  • The Labyrinthodontia appears in Jurassic World: The Game as a common amphibian. It is shown to eat fish, meaning it was possibly piscivorous. A level 40 Labyrinthodontia in Jurassic World: The Game is shown to have a sail on its back, which resembles the Dimetrodon or a specific member of the pelycosaur family.

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