Saturday , July 2 2022

A fossil reptile that eats a plant in Southern New Mexico


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico Museum of Natural History says that the oldest known specimen of a plant-eating reptile is found in the fossil record south of New Mexico.

The museum announced this week and said that the unique structure of the teeth of the skull, jaw and sail-back reptiles showed that it was a herbivore, and that such special plant eaters were not known in reptiles older than 200 million. year.

During the field trip to the University of Oklahoma in 2013, fossil bones were discovered by Ethan Schuth near Alamogordo. The bones were part of a perfectly preserved but incomplete skeleton.

The field crew spent one year collecting bones from the area and spent more time collecting the hard sandstone surrounding the fossils for research.

Spencer Lucas, the curator of paleontology, and his team determined that they were about 300 million years old from the museum, meaning they lived 50 million years ago from the origin of reptiles or dinosaurs crawling early in the Permian Period.

Lucas and research fellow, Matt Celeskey, described the skeleton as a new genus and species, which they call the Gordodon kraineri. Since Gordodon has large fangs at the ends of his jaws, the Spanish word is derived from gordo or grease and the Greek word odon or tooth.

The genre name honored Karl Krainer, an Austrian geologist who was informed about the Permian period in New Mexico.

"Gordodon rewrites the books for about 100 million years, describing the evolution of the theory of evolution," Lucas said in a statement published Wednesday. Said.

Gordodon was 5 meters (1.5 meters) long and weighed about 75 kilograms (34 kilograms). It is believed to be a selective feeder on high nutrient plants due to the improved structure of the skull, jaw and teeth.

Experts in the museum say that other early herbivorous reptiles are not picky and they choose any plant they are facing. They say that Gordodon has some of the same specialties found in modern animals such as goats and deer.

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