Antarctanax shackleton trunks in Antarctica on the banks of the river during the early triad.
Credit: Copyright Adrian Stroup / Field Museum
Millions of years before the earth trembled under the feet T. rex The so-called "King of Dinosaurs" – the forest in Antarctica lived in the iguana-sized "lizard king".
This ancient reptile was arosaur – part of the same group that later included dinosaurs, pterosaurus and crocodiles. Scientists have recently discovered a part of a lizard that was 250 million years ago – when Antarctica had a gap with plant and animal life.
Not only did this former "king" fossil give a sharper picture of the forest landscape in Antarctica, but also help explain the evolutionary landscape after the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history, scientists reported in a new study. [Antarctica: The Ice-Covered Bottom of the World (Photos)]
Although the lizard fossil was incomplete, researchers from the fused vertebrate could say that the animal was an adult reptile and would probably be about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) in size. They duplicated it Antarctica shackleton: The first part of its name comes from the Greek words "King of Antarctica"; the second part is the turtle for British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, who named Beardmore Glacier – where many Antarctic fossils, including Antarctica, recently found – after an expedition in 1908.
The subtle features of the lizard's spine and foot bones indicated that it was a new species, and its foot shape showed that it lived on the ground, outperforming the forest floor, a leading researcher author Brandon Peecook, a Meeker postdoctoral field at the Chicago Natural History Museum said Live Science.
"It is not a walk that makes us think it lived in the trees or that it is a barge," said Peecook.
These trees can be difficult to portray if you imagine Antarctica as it is today: frozen, mostly lifeless, ice-covered desert. But hundreds of millions of years ago there was a warm, humid environment in Antarctica where the temperature was rarely reported – if ever lower than freezing – by the authors of the study.
"We have evidence of widespread forests all over the place, and the big rivers that move through these forests," said Peecook. Roaming between trees and rivers was amphibians, relatives of mammals, called cinodonts, other mammals-like predators, called dicynodonts, had a bunch and bunch, and reptiles like Antarctica, he added.
However, this fossil material also contributes to an important evolutionary story. By discovering this previously unknown ancient reptile, the researchers converge into the unexpected arosaur diversity that arose shortly after the mass disappearance – a cataclysm event about 252 million years ago, which destroyed about 96 percent of all marine species and about 70 percent of all vertebrates. Scientists previously thought that after this global disappearance event, animals had to diversify millions of years and fill the empty niches of the planet. But Antarctica shows that, according to a study, architects began a few million years after Perm's disappearance.
"If you look at the first triass, the arosaurs and other groups are explosive," Peecook told Live Science. While Antarcticaiguana-like body may not seem particularly dramatic, some triassic reptiles evolved to be like a pteroza in the sky, while others returned to the seas and eventually became huge ichthososaurs and plesiosaurs – and their ancestors probably appeared at the same time Antarctica, he explained.
" Antarctica At the beginning, Triass means that all these other crazy lines must already be, even if we don't have good fossils from now on, ”said Peecook.
The results were published online today (January 31) in the palaeontological journal of vertebrate animals.
Originally published Live Science.