280-mn-yr-old reptile

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 10:02

Washington: In a new research, scientists have found insect parts stuck between the teeth of two Paleozoic reptiles, which makes it the last meal for the 280 million year old reptiles.
According to a report in Discovery News, Lead author Sean Modesto, a Cape Breton University biologist, and his team discovered the insect parts after analyzing the remains for the reptiles, which were found in a hilly, and now mostly deserted, part of Oklahoma.

The discovery strongly suggests that the pre-Dinosaur Era equivalent of today’s lizards feasted on insects, and it’s the first known evidence for this behavior among vertebrates.

The prehistoric reptiles represent a new, as of yet unnamed, species that lived 280 million years ago.

“We envision the new acleistorhinid reptile as feeding primarily on small invertebrates, but also, as perhaps occasional opportunities arose, preying upon tetrapods that were small enough to swallow whole,” according to Modesto and his colleagues.

“The compelling evidence of insectivory in this fossil reptile provides strong support for the hypothesis that the origins and earliest stages of higher vertebrate evolution are associated with relatively small terrestrial insectivores,” said the researchers.

“We can conclude, therefore, that the subsequent diversification of Palaeozoic amniotes and the rise of small and large omnivorous, herbivorous and predatory forms arose from these modest beginnings,” they added.

ANI



First Published: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 10:02

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