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Anthracosaurus russelli

Anthracosaurus russelli was a large (estimated length of 3 meters) predatorial eel-like creature that lived in the swamps of Scotland during the Upper Carboniferous. The eel-like shape of the body  is assumed on the basis of related genera but the details of the postcranial skeleton is a mystery as only skull fragments of this animal have been found mainly in the Coal Measures of Scotland. A. russelli is currently the only recognized species as A. lancifer from Linton, Ohio, also known from a skull, has been synonymized with Leptophractus obsoletus.


Anthracosaurus russelli


Huxley, 1863

Meaning of the generic name

Coal Lizard


Skull length: 40 cm, Length: 3 m


Skulls and skull fragments.

Age and Distribution

Blackband Ironstone of Airdie, near Glasgow, Scotland (Westphalain B); Usworth Colliery, Washington, Tyne and Wear, England (Westphalian A), UK


Tetrapoda Emblomeri Anthracosauridae

  Further Reading

Huxley, T. H., 1863, Description of Anthracosaurus russelli, a new labyrinthodont form the Lanarkshire coal field: Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 19, p. 56-68.
Clack J.A. (1987) Two new specimens of Anthracosaurus (Amphibia: Anthracosauria) from the Northumberland Coal Measures. Palaeontology, 30, 15-26.


Illustration by D. Bogdanov