In the later Carboniferous rocks the earliest amphibians make their appearance in considerable numbers; they were all Stegocephalians (Labyrinthodonts) with long bodies, a head covered with bony plates and weak or undeveloped limbs.
It is usually regarded as beginning with a fresh-water series containing the remains of fish and labyrinthodonts; but as it also contains Vertebraria it is probably Palaeozoic; and this series is covered by sandstones and shales which are probably of Triassic age.
Some authors have held that the bone on which the occipital condyles have been found most developed in some labyrinthodonts (2) represents a large basi-occipital bearing two knobs for the articulation with the first vertebra, whilst the skull of the batrachians of the present day has lost the basi-occipital, and the condyles are furnished by the exoccipitals.
As a result of his researches on the anomodont reptiles and the Stegocephalia (4), as the extinct order that includes the well known labyrinthodonts is now called, we have had the proposal by H.
As in fishes also, the sensory canal system must have been highly developed on the skulls of many labyrinthodonts, and the impressions left by these canals have been utilized by morphologists for homologizing the various elements of the cranial roof with those of Crossopterygians.