Diapsids ("two arches") are a group of reptiles that developed two holes (temporal fenestra) in each side of their skulls, about 300 million years ago during the late Carboniferous period. Living diapsids are extremely diverse, and include all crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and tuatara. Under modern classification systems, even birds are considered diapsids, since they evolved from diapsid ancestors and are nested within the diapsid clade. While some diapsids have lost either one hole (lizards), or both holes (snakes), or even have a heavily restructured skull (modern birds), they are still classified as diapsids based on their ancestry. There are at least 7,925 species of diapsid reptile existing in environments around the world today (over 14,600 when birds are included).
The name Diapsida means "two arches", and diapsids are traditionally classified based on their two ancestral skull openings (temporal fenestrae) posteriorly above and below the eye. This arrangement allows for the attachment of larger, stronger jaw muscles, and enables the jaw to open more widely. A more obscure ancestral characteristic is a relatively long lower arm bone (the radius), compared to the upper arm bone (humerus).
Well known extinct diapsid groups include the dinosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and many more obscure lineages. The classification of most of the early groups is fluid and subject to change.
Diapsida|--Araeoscelida |-?Sphodrosaurus |-?Palacrodon |-?Omphalosaurus