World's oldest lizard fossil reveals new evolutionary clues about reptiles, scientists say

The fossil of Megachirella wachtleri

"Our new understanding of Megachirella is but a point in ancient time, but it tells us things about the evolution of lizards that we simply can not learn from any of the 9,000 or so species of lizards and snakes alive today".

Squamates are reptiles of the larger order Squamata and include snakes, lizards and amphisbaenians.

The fossil was originally found 20 years ago in the Dolomite Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Italy.

That, in turn, suggested that squamates had already split from other ancient reptiles before the Permian/Triassic mass extinction some 252 million years ago, and survived it.

More light will be shed on snakes and lizards, both living and dead, thanks to this research.

"The specimen is 75 million years older than what we thought were the oldest fossil lizards in the entire world", Tiago Simões, lead author and PhD candidate, said in a statement.

Enter Megachirella wachtleri, a three-inch, 240-million-year-old fossil - and an exciting new clue in this evolutionary mystery.

Saudi Arabia outlaws sexual harassment
The law also punishes any person who helps or allows the harassment by not more than half of the maximum penalty assigned to it. Even if a victim waives the right to prosecute a harasser, the kingdom's legal authorities can still press charges.

Florida school shooting suspect foretold intention in videos
Cruz's defense lawyers have said he would agree to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. "I live a lone life". Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was among the dead, said Cruz can now rule out an insanity plea.

Kremlin says unfazed by Chelsea owner's Israeli citizenship
Putin repeatedly urged Abramovich to stay on as governor while he was already living between Russian Federation and Britain. However, now with Israeli citizenship in hand, Abramovich is expected to move to Tel Aviv soon.

"It's nearly a virtual Rosetta stone", coauthor Michael Caldwell, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta, says in a video for the MUSE Science Museum in Italy.

Self-described explorer Michael Wachtler first found the fossil, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Researchers couldn't figure out what type of reptile it was and how far back it dated.

"I spent almost 400 days visiting over 50 museums and university collections across 17 countries to collect data on fossil and living species of reptiles to understand the early evolution of reptiles and lizards", Simoes explained. They put together the biggest ever reptile dataset to pinpoint Megachirella's place in the family tree.

"For the first time, having that information with this highly expanded data set, now it became possible to actually assess the relationship of not only this species but also of other species of reptiles".

Simões and his colleagues are still seeking evidence of megachirella's behavior.

Paleontologists have identified a 240-million-year-old fossil of a lizard as the "ancestor" of all modern lizards and snakes, providing key insight into the origin and evolution of one of the largest groups of vertebrates on Earth. Scientists found that the creature's ribs, spine, front limbs, and skull were still attached to the skeleton, and over the next 10 years the fossil was closely studied and scrutinized by scientists. Simões concludes that the information they got from the fossil can help them understand the transition "from general reptile features to more lizard-like features".

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top How MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings won in spite of adversities
Jun 02, 2018 - 12:24
I think by the time you reach the final, everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, so you don't have to speak a lot. At the start, yes maybe we felt we have to get moving, but we had the belief that we had the firepower to get the runs.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top HHS official: Immigrant children are not ‘lost’
Jun 02, 2018 - 12:18
Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families spoke before the committee. Since October, more than 700 children have been separated from their parents, the New York Times reports .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Caps' Kuznetsov practises but status unclear for Game 3
Jun 02, 2018 - 12:01
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. It seemed a sure goal because he was below the left circle and within point-blank range of goaltender Braden Holtby when he shot.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Amazon just blocked Australians from shopping on most of Amazon
Jun 01, 2018 - 06:30
The GST will impose a 10% fee for all online goods imported into Australia, worth less than A$1,000 ($756). Australian customers will no longer be able to use the Amazon US website from July 1.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds
Jun 01, 2018 - 06:01
But before you go tossing all your supplements in the trash, there's a tiny bit of good news to be found in the data as well. However, as per the study , Vitamin B3 as well as Vitamin A, C and E showed a link to increased chances of death.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top New mum Serena back in the Grand Slam groove in Paris
Jun 01, 2018 - 05:37
The three-time French Open singles champion will now play Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the next round. But her winners told the analytic tale: three in the first set, 10 in the second, 15 in the third.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NBA Finals 2018: Under-the-radar players to watch for Cavs-Warriors
Jun 01, 2018 - 05:30
I'm going to assume that the Cavs stay with their "big" lineup to kick off the series, even if Kevin Love returns for Game 1. But at the end of the day, his athleticism allows him to play some of the premier perimeter players in our league.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Unai Emery closing in on first two signings
Jun 01, 2018 - 04:59
The Wales worldwide is out of contract in 2019 and the Gunners are said to have offered the midfielder a new five-year deal this week.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Italy's 'fate' Not Dictated by Financial Markets: EU's Juncker
Jun 01, 2018 - 04:52
Mr Conte was summoned by Italy's President Sergio Mattarella to the presidential palace in Rome this evening. Conte abandoned efforts to form a government after Mattarella refused to accept his cabinet lineup.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Starbucks Hours Near Me Today: What Time Is it Open or Closed?
Jun 01, 2018 - 04:29
Alexis McGill Johnson, Perception's co-founder and executive director, says anti-bias training is about awareness. Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top New Assassin's Creed game apparently leaked by collectible keychain
Jun 01, 2018 - 04:29
We've heard the same details from three people who have played the game, and several more who have heard about it secondhand. Two of those sources confirmed that Odyssey will be out during Ubisoft's 2019 fiscal year, which ends on 31 March 2019.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ndidi Faces Decisive Moment With England Friendly
Jun 01, 2018 - 03:59
The 25-man travelling to London includes Premier League quintet of Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi , Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Prosecutor Drops Eric Greitens' Felony Computer Tampering Charge
Jun 01, 2018 - 03:49
Eric Greitens is considering appealing a judge's order for the group to comply with a legislative subpoena seeking documents. Louis indicts the governor on a felony invasion of privacy charge for taking and transmitting the alleged photo.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump plans to go ahead with steel, aluminum tariffs on EU
Jun 01, 2018 - 03:45
White House spokesman Raj Shah told Fox News: "The president's actions are about protecting American steel, American aluminum". The EU earlier threatened to counterpunch by targeting USA products, including Kentucky bourbon, blue jeans and motorcycles .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Reasons the Cavs Could Win the NBA Finals
Jun 01, 2018 - 03:35
Larry Nance Jr ., Jordan Clarkson , Rodney Hood and George Hill were playing for other teams the last time these teams met. The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season.