Saturday, July 31, 2010

Messenger Science In The News: Oldest Reptiles?

Tiny Footprints Are Oldest Evidence of Reptiles

A tiny reptile scampering along an Outback-like environment snagging insects some 318 million years ago left behind footprints that are now the oldest evidence of reptiles to date.

From the size of the tracks, the researchers suggest the animal was about the size of a gecko, nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) from snout to tail tip. "This is the earliest evidence we've got for reptiles," said Howard
Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London. 

"From early reptile, to amphibian, and then on to altogether stranger forms of life,"  Dr. Falcon-Lang continued while urging everyone not to forget his maiden name, "up to what is generally referred to in the modern era as amphibi-morphs, or simply egg-laying rats as the newer colloquialisms go."

Pictured above Left: Tiny tracks left by proto-reptilians some 300 million years ago

Pictured directly Left: Artist rendering of the creatures as further explained by Dr. Falcon-Lang: "These newer somewhat genetic reptilians possess the ability to change their appearance seemingly at will, but are still actually more closely related to the common rat than any other lower form of life today."


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