Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, Barremian
Sweetman & Gardner, 2012
Sweetman & Gardner, 2012
Wesserpeton is known from the holotype NHMUK PV R36521, nearly complete fused frontals and from the referred materials NHMUK PV R36522–36568 and R36595–36611. All specimens were collected from seven localities of the Wessex Formation on the southeastern coast of the Isle of Wight of southern England. The type locality (Bed 38) is exposed at Yaverland while the rest (Bed L2) are exposed high in the cliff at Sudmoor Point but have yielded only NHMUK PV R36539, R36522 and R36553–36558. All specimens are dating to the Barremian stage of the Early Cretaceous.
Wesserpeton was first named by Steven C. Sweetman and James D. Gardner in 2013 and the type species is Wesserpeton evansae. The generic name is derived from Wess, from Wessex, an ancient British kingdom which included the Isle of Wight, and ἑρπετόν, erpeton, Greek for "creeping animal" which used in the construction of the name of Albanerpeton. The specific name honors Professor Susan E. Evans from the University College London for contributing the research of microvertebrate palaeontology and the understanding of Albanerpetontidae.
Paleontology or palaeontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 2013.Albanerpetontidae
The Albanerpetontidae are an extinct family of superficially salamander-like batrachians. Albanerpetontids include five genera – Albanerpeton, Anoualerpeton, Celtedens, Shirerpeton and Wesserpeton – and between 10 and 20 known species, spanning about 160 million years from the Bathonian stage of the Middle Jurassic to the beginning of the Pleistocene, about 2.13-2 million years ago. Albanerpetontids were long thought to be salamanders because of their small size and generalized body plans. However, these features are now thought to be ancestral for lissamphibians and not indicative of close relationships between the two groups. One of the things that made them different from salamanders was that their skin was covered with bony scales. Albanerpetontids are now recognized as a distinct clade of lissamphibians separate from the three living orders of amphibians – Anura (frogs), Caudata (salamanders), and Gymnophiona (caecilians). Some studies show them as more closely related to frogs and salamanders than to caecilians, while others show them to be outside of the lissamphibian crown-group.Wessex Formation
The Wessex Formation is a fossil-rich English geological formation that dates from the Berriasian to Barremian stages (about 145–125 million years ago) of the Early Cretaceous. It forms part of the Wealden Group and underlies the younger Vectis Formation and overlies the Durlston Formation. The dominant lithology of this unit is mudstone with some interbedded sandstones.