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Reptiles

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by

Robert Williford

on 28 April 2014

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Transcript of Reptiles

In this section we will discuss reptiles, their defining characteristics, and the changes that allowed them to evolve from amphibians and into birds and mammals.
Reptiles
History of Reptiles
About 35 million years ago amphibians colonized the land and some of them developed thicker drier skin to protect them from water loss. They also evolved a special skin around their egg so it could be laid on land and not dry out. This was the beginning of reptiles. They were the first vertebrates to live completely out of water. Different types of reptiles would later evolve into birds and mammals.
Characteristics
Reptiles are adapted to life on land. Some live in the water but they evolved from reptiles that lived on land. They all breathe air like you and me.
Turtles and Tortoises
Turtles and tortoises are only distantly related to the rest of the reptiles. They are not quick and nimble because of their cumbersome shells. On the other hand, they can pull their heads and limbs into their shells for protection from predators. Turtles are mostly aquatic creatures while tortoises are completely land creatures.
Crocodiles and Alligators
Crocodiles and alligators are all predators and have evolved their eyes and nostrils to be on top of their heads for hunting and living in water.
Lizards and Snakes
Most of the modern reptiles are lizards or snakes.
Therapsids
- early reptilian ancestors to mammals.
- Thick skinned: they have water tight skin to keep from losing water and drying out.
- Coldblooded: like fish and amphibians they cannot maintain a constant body temperature.
-
Amniotic Egg:
an egg surrounded by a shell. This is the most important adaptation for living on land.
- Internal reproduction: unlike fish or amphibians, reptiles reproduce internally because they live on land.
How can you tell the difference?
Lizards - live in deserts, forests, grasslands, and jungles. Can be carnivores or herbivores.
Examples:
Snakes - are all predators, lack legs, and some kill prey by squeezing them to death while others use venom. Great sense of smell using their tongue.
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