Fossilized Reptile Discovered, Drepanosaurus Described as 'Bizarre'
Drepanosaurus is a reptile that is a "chameleon-anteater hybrid" with a weird and terrifying forefinger with a massive claw. The weird discovery about the reptile is that the body and anatomy structure is very different from the animals in that era.
Scientists have studied the 212-million-year-old Drepanosaurus fossils that have been located at Hayden Quarry in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
According to ABC News, the team of scientists wrote that the unusual front arms of Drepanosaurus are significant because it will explain the evolution of structural relationships of the bones of the forelimb that remained the same for the past 375 million years.
"This animal stretches the bounds of what we think can evolve in the limbs of four-footed animals," said Adam Pritchard, the lead author on the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University.
In addition to the massive claw, the Drepanosaurus had a grasping feet and claw-like tip at the tail. With this discovery, scientists have found out that tetrapods' bodies had evolved to adapt with the type of environment they inhabited.
The Drepanosaurus is Not a Dinosaur and Mammal
According to the Washington Post, the Drepanosaurus is neither a dinosaur nor a mammal but an insect-eater reptile. "Ecologically, Drepanosaurus seems to be a sort of chameleon-anteater hybrid, which is really bizarre for the time. It possesses a totally unique forelimb," Pritchard said.
Pritchard described the Drepanosaurus' enormous arms and forearms as muscular, while the claw is the biggest bone in the body of the reptile.
Tetrapods have four limbs with a backbone or spine and two elongated parallel bones, radius and ulna, while the Drepanosaurus has unparallel radius and ulna. Pritchard explained that with this body structure, the reptile had been hooked into insect nets.
Drepanosaurus inhabited the coastal environment on Italy and along the streamside of Midwestern United States.
The study about Drepanosaurus has been published in Current Biology.
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