|“||This is the giant amphibian, Hynerpeton -- the prototype land dweller for the next 300 million years.||„|
|— Allen, about Hynerpeton|
Hynerpeton (name meaning "Creeping Animal from Hyner") is a genus of stegocephalid that originated during the Late Devonian Era in what is now North America. Measuring almost 2 meters long, this strange, prehistoric amphibian was one of the first vertebrate animals that could live and move on land for an extended amount of time.
In the episode "Amphibians & Armored Fish", several Hynerpeton were brought back to the park from Late Devonian Pennsylvania 360 million years ago. They reside in an enclosure that has a small pond and a waterfall.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Hynerpeton lived during the Late Devonian Period, 366 to 350 million years ago. It shared the waters, like rivers, lakes, and even the shallow ocean waters, with creatures such as Stethacanthus, Bothriolepis, and Hyneria. In 1993, the paleontologists Ted Daeschler and Neil Shubin found the first Hynerpeton fossil, a shoulder bone, near Hyner, Pennsylvania, USA.
As a giant amphibian that measured over 5 feet (1.5 m) in length, Hynerpeton was much larger than most modern-day amphibians. They had a long, streamlined body fitted with an eel-like tail, four legs with eight digits per foot, and jaws fitted with needle-sharp teeth. It was black with yellow stripes and splodges.
These animals had also evolved complex lungs to exploit the oxygen of the Devonian. Like humans, Hynerpetons lungs were saxed and they breathed the same way humans do; forcing the air in and out of their bodies so their blood could absorb more oxygen.
Although they could breathe and move around on land, like all amphibians, Hynerpeton was still water-bound. Their skin was much thinner than humans and it dried out in minutes. Therefore, despite the dangers of the water, they had to constantly keep their skin wet or their skin would dry out quickly and they would die. However, at the end of every day when the sun was setting, Hynerpeton was able to spend more time on land, possibly due to cooler weather at night.
Hynerpeton was an animal suited to the water rather than land. In the water, it was an able, fast swimmer. On land, however, it was cumbersome, slow, and needed to reside close to the water as its lungs were not as good as inhaling oxygen. Being near to water meant that oxygen from the water could enter its body via its skin. Despite its limitations, the land was a safer place, as the landscape back in the Devonian was drastically underpopulated. Due to this, Hynerpeton could go onto land without fearing predation.
When females laid their eggs, the eggs themselves were soft and their young had gills rather than lungs. Therefore, they had to be laid in water.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
As magnificent as these amphibians were, life for Hynerpeton was anything but easy. Therefore, they were low on the food chain during their time and were hunted by other, larger predators: such as Stethacanthus, Hyneria, and possibly even Dunkleosteus.
Hynerpeton also only mated during a short season. Females were particular and as such, would only mate with the males that were capable of defending their territory. During this time, males would try to mate with as many females as possible. In the case of competition, to avoid injury, the males would demonstrate their strength via performing a strange push-up motion and would snap their jaws repeatedly until one of them backed down.
- Hynerpeton are the first prehistoric amphibians brought to the park.
- The sound effects of Hynerpeton are altered amphibian sounds, such as frogs and toads.