Fossilised bones from an amphibian-like creature that lived on the west coast 325 million years ago have been found in Co Clare.

They were discovered on a beach near Doolin, after a recent storm dislodged shale deposits.

Dr Eamon Doyle, a geologist with Clare County Council, has outlined details of his find in the latest edition of the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences.

The two small bones are thought to have formed part of the leg and hip of a creature that predated the first lizards. These eventually evolved into dinosaurs 100 million years later.

Dr Doyle said the find originates from the time that amphibians evolved from fish and first began to colonise land.

It is believed the tiny creature in question would have been scurrying around the west Clare coast 325 million years ago. It lived during the Carboniferous period, which spans a 61 million year timeframe.

The discovery of bones in rocks of this age are said to be very rare. The fossilised bones are 10mm in length.

Dr Doyle said the creature would fit in the palm of a hand and probably lived along a swampy coastline, in an estuary or on a river further inland.

He thinks the amphibian may have been washed out to sea in a flood. Its bones settled on the seafloor before they were buried and eventually fossilised.

It is not the first time the Clare-based palaeontologist has made such an interesting discovery.

Last year, a 435 million-year-old starfish fossil he found in Conamara (Connemara) went on display at the Museum of Natural History in Dublin.

That was described by researchers as an "exceptional fossil" that provided a key piece of evidence in the hunt for signs of life, in an ocean that covered the country millions of years ago. 

It was named 'Crepidosoma Doyleii' in honour of Dr Doyle.