Reptiles (the class Reptilia) comprise today’s turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards, and tuataras, and many other extinct groups. A reptile is any amniote (tetrapod that can lay eggs on land) that is neither a mammal nor a bird. Modern reptiles have scales or scutes (not fur or feathers) and are cold-blooded. The earliest known reptiles originated around 320–310 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, evolving from amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land.

reptilesTINY CHAMELEONS (Brookesia micra)

Brookesia micra on a homo sapiens digit.
PHOTO: Frank Glaw

Brookesia micra on the tip of a wooden match stick.
PHOTO: Frank Glaw

One of four species of tiny reptiles recently discovered on the African island of Madagascar. Three of the four species are endangered by human activity (habitat destruction).

Amphibians Arthropods Birds Gastropods Mammals Tardigrades

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