The fossils trapped in amber about 99 million years ago belong to a newly discovered and very strange species of extinct lizards.The· fossil It also helped scientists fix another amber-locked line of discovery. Cretaceous (145.5 to 65.5 million years ago), it was originally thought to be the smallest known ancient bird.
When researchers explain the size of hummingbirds Oculudentavis khaungraae In March 2020, it was welcomed as the smallest dinosaur ever found (birds are a line of dinosaurs that have survived to date). However, the specimen has many features that suggest it may be a lizard, and the journal withdrew its research in July 2020, Live Science. Previously reported..
New discoveries in dubbing Occuldenta Bisnaga, A more complete specimen O. khaungraaeIt has an intact skull and part of its spine and shoulders.After analysis O. Naga According to a new study, scientists say that despite its bird-like characteristics, it is a lizard and its “bird” cousin, even though it is a very strange lizard. I made a decision for each.
Amber fossils form after animals and plants are trapped in the sticky resin of coniferous trees.Over time, as the resin cures amber around the organism, it seals the organism. oxygen And BacteriaAccording to, protects it from rot and environmental wear University of California Paleontology Museum In Berkeley.
These fossils often retain soft tissue such as: Feathered wings Torn from a bird, Feathered dinosaur tail When Ancient lizard tongue..Amber can also preserve rare examples of animal behavior — 41 million years old Insect sex romp, For example.
Many amber fossils dating back to the Cretaceous come from Kachin State, Myanmar — both Oculudentavis According to a new study, the specimen came from the state’s Amber mine. Indigenous peoples controlled amber deposits and mining before 2017, but their activities have expelled thousands and are associated with human rights abuses after the Myanmar military took control of the mine. Reported by New Scientist In 2019.
However O. Naga Scientists reported that amber specimens were legally obtained and exported from Myanmar before 2017 by research co-author Adolf Peretti, a gemologist at GRS Gemresearch Swisslab.
A bird-like lizard or a lizard-like bird?
O. Naga’s The skull is only 0.6 inches (14.2 mm) long, and a long, tapered nose with elongated nostrils is a bird rather than a lizard’s nose, according to a study published in the journal on Monday (June 14). It’s like a nostril. Current biology..
When compared side by side with O. khaungraae (Measure 0.7 inch or 17.3 mm), O. Naga The skull looks quite different: its crown is flatter. It has a wider nose.The eye opening is large for a lizard, but not so large Of O. khaungraae. Nevertheless, animals are more closely related than the conserved skull shape suggests, and the relationship, and their identification as lizards, has been determined by researchers. X-ray Edward Stanley, co-author of the study and deputy scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and director of the museum’s Digital Discovery and Dissemination (3D), scans the skull and creates a digital 3D model. Said that he examined one bone at a time. Imaging lab.
Both specimens had teeth with long roots attached to the jaw. Known as pleurodonts, these teeth are common in lizards and “do not look like dinosaur teeth” attached to sockets, Stanley told Live Science.
“There is a bone behind the jaw called the quadrate, which attaches the mandible to the skull and the upper part of the neurocranium, which is also very lizard-like in both specimens,” said Stanley. “The palate is rare for a lizard, but it’s much more like a lizard than a bird,” Stanley added. Scientists write in a study that a skull, called a jugal, shaped like a hockey stick, checked yet another box on the lizard list of features for both animals.
yet O. Naga And O. khaungraae Both had “strange-looking bones” directly in front of the eye sockets, unlike those found in most lizards, Stanley said.
“Lizard Skull — First Specimen, Hollotype Oculudentavis khaungraae — Birds can be mistaken for a good sign that this reptile is truly rare, “said Al, a senior research author and researcher at the Michel Crusafont Catalan Paleontology Institute at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Now Boretto says.
Deformed by time
One explanation for why the specimens look so different from each other O. khaungraae It had a more bird-like appearance with a rounder skull and a pointed nose — the skull may have been deformed by fossilization.So O. Naga A more complete specimen, which provided scientists with a clearer image of the bone.After scanning the skull Computed tomography (CT), Researchers have digitally reversed the deformation of the model, revealing that the two species are more similar than they first appeared.
“We used CT data to try to separate the individual bones one by one, so we actually decomposed them into components,” says Stanley. “Then it becomes much clearer. Not only are these lizards, they are also very closely related strange lizards.”
O. Naga Little lateral deformation O. khaungraee“It’s less likely to be interpreted as a bird,” Bolet told Live Science in an email.Nevertheless, fossils still show it Oculudentavis In some respects it deviates from the standard lizard morphology and is a very interesting animal, “Boretto added. “It shows a lot to learn about the evolution of past species and gives us a glimpse of how different groups are doing—in this case, the lizards—diversify and play different roles in the ecosystem. I will. “
The status of Oculudentavis as a strange lizard is now clearer, but scientists have reported that the exact location of the lizard on the family tree is still unknown.However, all CT data is now available for free MorphoSource, Online repository of 3D scientific data, other researchers have the opportunity to try this intriguing solution Theory of evolution puzzle.
“You can 3D print this model or use computer simulation to test quotient, jaw angle, etc. This will give you a little idea of what this animal was doing in life. You can separate the interior. .. ear In the specimen, it may tell you about the type of environment it lived in, whether it lived on a tree or on the ground, “Stanley said. You can also work on it. “
Originally published in Live Science.
‘Strange beast’ in amber is a very weird lizard Source link ‘Strange beast’ in amber is a very weird lizard