Reports

Juvenile-Adult Habitat Shift in Permian Fossil Reptiles and Amphibians

Science  02 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4554, pp. 53-55
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4554.53

Abstract

Among extant large reptiles, juveniles often occupy different habitats from those of adults or subadults and thus avoid competition with and predation from the older animals; small juveniles often choose cryptic habitats because they are vulnerable to a wide variety of predators. Evidence from fossil humeri and femora of Early Permian reptiles collected from sediments of several distinct habitats indicate that similar shifts in habitat occurred. Juvenile Dimetrodon seem to have favored cryptic habitats around swamp and swampy lake margins; adults favored open habitats on the floodplains. Similar patterns of habitat shift seem to be present in the reptile Ophiacodon and the amphibian Eryops and may have been common in fossil tetrapods of the Permian-Triassic.