Odd couple shared 250-million year old nest
An amphibian and a precursor to mammals who shared a nest 250 million years ago have recently been discovered during X-ray scans of a fossilized burrow recovered in the Haroo Basin of South Africa.
The two animals were found together in the same burrow, sharing a nest as they drowned during a flash flood.
One day, around 250 million years ago, a young member of a species of amphibian called Broomistega, handicapped from a number of broken ribs. went into the burrow of an animal known as Thrinaxodon, a mammal-like reptile. The injury to the amphibian was likely sustained from one brute force event a while before the animal died, as the ribs had begun to heal.
The storm which killed the unlikely pair may have been part of the severe climatic conditions which followed the Permo-Triassic mass extinction around that time. Most of the life on earth was wiped out, and animals like the Thrinaxodon adapted to digging underground to avoid the inclement weather.
An international team of researchers from South africa, Australia and France were scanning a fossilized burrow when they discovered the remains of the animals.
An X-ray study of the burrow reveled the primitive mammal-like being first, and later, the amphibian with whom it shared a den.
"While discovering the results we were amazed by the quality of the images. But, the real excitement came when we discovered a second set of teeth completely different from that of the mammal-like reptile. It was really something else," Vincent Fernandez from Wits University in South Africa said.
Although co-habitation between different species is seen today, it is usually based on either a small guest being too little for a main host to bother with, or a larger visitor who helps protect a smaller den-owner from predators. In this case, neither explanation seems likely. Short periods of dormancy called aestivation may have been practiced by the Thrinazodon as an adaptation to climate change.
"It's a fascinating scientific question: what caused the association of these two organisms in the burrow? One of the more obvious possibilities is a predator-prey interaction, but we inspected both skeletons looking for tooth marks or other evidence implying predation, ultimately finding no support for one having attempted to feed on the other," Kristian Carlson of Wits University, co-author of the paper announcing the results, said.
These two are now the world's oddest, oldest couple.
New Species of Thumbnail-Size Frogs Discovered In India
Indian scientists have found the smallest frogs in the world – new frog species that can sit comfortably on your fingernail or coin. Four species of the new frogs were discovered in the Western Ghats of India, where three new species had earlier been found before. The frogs were found to belong to the genus Nyctibatrachus or night frogs after five years of extensive exploration.
Michigan Wants Volunteers to Survey Toads and Frogs Again This Year
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is requesting for individual volunteers to help out with its yearly frog and toad survey. The main aim of this annual event is to help the state determine the population and growth amphibians in the state. Volunteers will only need to listen to frog calls during the breeding season and identify their species and numbers.
Climate Change: African Penguins Are In Danger
Climate changed has changed so much things in the African penguin's ecosystem. The most essential need for survival. If no one will do aomething about it, African penguins will go extcinct.
USDA Deletes Animal Welfare And Abuse Records
The USDA have deleted all animal inspection and abuse records from its website, urging a number of activist groups to take action. The agency claims that they are just ensuring privacy of certain individuals.
Frog's Tongue Mystery Explained, Super-Adhesive Power Cracked By Scientists
A frog's insect-catching prowess is finally explained, and their amazing ability lies in their spit. A frog's saliva has a unique feature which makes it hard for its prey to escape.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
How to Protect Yourself on Facebook
Facebook is an application that takes on an all-encompassing role in our social media lives. It is a space where we communicate with friends and family about our personal lives, browse through an endless stream of content, and interact with other companies and entities on groups and pages.
How Do Personal Emergency Response Systems Work?
Personal emergency response systems, known as PERS for short, are systems that help people to raise the alarm and get immediate help when a medical or personal emergency occurs. They are ideal for older people and anyone with a mobility issue or an injury or illness that can cause falls.
The 9 Most Popular (And Fun) Internet Games of 2019
Are you bored of board games? What are the most popular internet games from this year? These nine are popular for a reason. Check 'em out!