Reptiles, the class Reptilia, are an evolutionary grade of animals, comprising today's turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards, and tuatara, as well as many extinct groups. A reptile is any amniote (a tetrapod whose egg has an additional membrane, originally to allow them to lay eggs on land) that is neither a mammal nor a bird. Unlike mammals, birds, and certain extinct reptiles, living reptiles have scales or scutes (rather than fur or feathers) and are cold-blooded. Advocates of phylogenetic nomenclature regard the traditional category 'Reptilia' to be invalid, because not all descendants of a common ancestor are included. However, in practice, these non-cladistic classifications, such as reptile, fish, and amphibian, remain in use by some biologists, especially in popular books written for a general audience. The historically combined study of reptiles and amphibians is called herpetology.
The earliest known reptiles originated around 340-335 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land. Some early examples include the lizard-like Hylonomus, Casineria and possibly Westlothiana, although the latter may be an advanced land-dwelling amphibian. In addition to the living reptiles, there are many diverse groups that are now extinct, in some cases due to mass extinction events. In particular, the K–Pg extinction wiped out the pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, ornithischians, and sauropods, as well as many species of theropods (e.g. tyrannosaurs and dromaeosaurids), crocodyliforms, and squamates (e.g. mosasaurids).