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Strange Fossil Shows How Life Responded After Mass Extinction

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  • Strange Fossil Shows How Life Responded After Mass Extinction

    Source: http://www.livescience.com/49173-strange-marine-reptile-fossil-china.html



    Strange Fossil Shows How Life Responded After Mass Extinction

    A strange marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs that was recently unearthed in China may shed light on how life recovered after the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history, researchers say.

    The research could also give scientists a better understanding of the effects of climate change on the modern environment, investigators added.

    The new, 248-million-year-old fossil is a kind of extinct, short-necked marine reptile known as a hupehsuchian. The creatures were odd-looking predators that grew to about 6 feet (2 meters) in size, and have so far only been found in the province of Hubei in central China. Their name derives from "hupeh," an alternative spelling of Hubei, and "suchus," the Greek name for the Egyptian crocodile deity Sobek.

    Hupehsuchia is a group of bizarre marine reptiles unlike anything living today," said study co-author Ryosuke Motani, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of California, Davis. "They had a duck like snout without teeth, a robust body protected by thickened bones, and paddle-shaped limbs." [Extreme Life on Earth: 8 Bizarre Creatures]

    Although scientists first discovered hupehsuchians more than 50 years ago, little is known about them, so they are "puzzling paleontologists," Motani said.

    Now Motani and his colleagues have discovered the smallest hupehsuchian unearthed yet, which reveals these mysterious reptiles might have diversified more rapidly than previously expected.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  • #2
    The start of the Triassic is an interesting time, but by now not much is left to study. This is a good find.

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