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  • Amphibians are vertebrate tetrapods. Amphibia includes frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. The term amphibian loosely translates from the Greek as “dual life,” which is a reference to the metamorphosis that many frogs and salamanders undergo and their mixture of aquatic and terrestrial environments in their life cycle. 

    Amphibians have several adaptations that allow them to live on land:

    • large shoulder and hip bones
    • a muscular tongue
    • a middle ear
    • they can breathe through their skin or with gills or lungs

    However because amphibians lay eggs, they are reliant on water to reproduce. They use several strategies to keep their eggs moist:

    • lay eggs directly in water
    • lay eggs on moist ground
    • wrap eggs in leaves

    Start by watching this series of five Animal Planet videos:



    Figure 1. The recent fossil discovery of Tiktaalik roseae suggests evidence for an animal intermediate to finned fish and legged tetrapods. (credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation)

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