Feb 21, 2019 | Updated: 08:27 AM EST

250-million-year-old Mysterious Reptile Identified By It's Footprint Fossils From The Pyrenees Mountains

Apr 20, 2017 07:04 PM EDT


Researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona have recently discovered a new type of reptile's footprint that lived about 250 million years ago. The footprint has been identified in fossils from the Pyrenees Mountains.

Now, mass extinction event is the most well-known event on Earth because it wiped out most animals including dinosaurs. This new species lived at a time when Earth was recovering from biotic crisis or mass extinction. A recent analysis suggested that this reptile belonged to the group of crocodile and dinosaur.

Scientists say that this discovery is very helpful for better understating on how the animals evolved and expanse. But they faced a tight situation during the experiment because some 90 percent of species were disappeared by mass extinction.

The project leader Eudald Mujal and his team found a large set of tracks in the Pyrenees Mountains in Catalonia. These tracks were made by archosauromorphs, the ancestors of crocodile and dinosaurs. They also found a footprint from Pyrenees tracks. Now it can be assured that the genus of Pyrenean Prorotodactylus is closely related to archosauromorphs, reported by Phys.Org.

Though, most footprints were small in size, near about half meter long and a few specimens were longer than three meters. Co-researcher Joseph Fortuny uttered that the total length of this animal is half a meter. They used all four legs to walk and sometimes also left marks with their tails, BBC News reported.

A detailed analysis suggests that archosauromorphs may have played a large role to dominate the river's bed of Pyrenees. Eudald Mujal told BBC News that "These tracks represent the first evidence of the vertebrate recovery, after the End-Permian extinction". The researchers say, further study is required to explore how the archosauromorphs family may have evolved and spread on the ecosystem.

Finally, the researchers made a 3D silicone mold of these ephemeral fossils to protect them in scientific collections. Again, the led scientist Eudald Mujal said that the research was still ongoing for fossilized bones of the animals that made the tracks.

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