Discovery of fossils of prehistoric reptiles that resemble modern lizards!

Rhynchocephali are a unique group of creatures that evolved from lizards during the Triassic period.

September 19, 2022: 150 million years ago, a prehistoric reptile similar to today’s lizards slithered around what is now Wyoming. The discovery of the insectivorous animal, an old rhynchocephalus, could shed light on the survival of its current relative, the tuatara.
Opisthiamimus gregori is the name of the reptile. It looks like a lizard, but unlike the New Zealand tuatara. Lizards are squamates, an order of reptiles that also includes snakes and worm lizards. Rhynchocephali are a unique group of creatures that evolved from lizards during the Triassic period.
Opisthiamimus fossils have been discovered in Wyoming, atop what was once a allosaurus nest. Paleontologists discovered four samples at the site, including the fairly complete articulated skeleton of the reptile. To research published in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology describes previously undiscovered species.

Related News

Archaeologists discover a 1.8 million year old tooth belonging to a human species

Scientists discover strange diamonds from outer space

Rhynchocephali are a group of reptiles related to lizards, according to the research team. At their peak, between 200 and 145 million years ago, these lizard-like creatures ruled the globe. They varied in shape and size and performed a wide range of tasks, from aquatic hunter to terrestrial prey. However, for some strange reason unknown to reptile specialists, the rhynchocephali soon began to decline, plunging ever closer to extinction.

In a Press release Matthew Carrano, research staff member and curator of dinosaurs at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, says: “These animals may have died out partly because of competition from lizards, but perhaps also because of global climate change and changing habitats.”

The discovery and characterization of O. gregori adds another vital source of knowledge that researchers believe may one day explain why rhynchocephalians have only one living species.

According to the press release, Carrano also said, “It’s fascinating when the dominance of one group gives way to another group during evolution…We still need more evidence to explain exactly what happened, but fossils like this are how we’re going to put it together.”

This article is written by Diya Mukherjee

Comments are closed.