Fossil excavated in the 1960s adds a missing link to the evolution of the crocodile

Reconstruction of Mambawakarerufuf’s life by copyright holder Gabriel Uget. For Mambawakale ruhuhu, only the skull, mandible, and some post-skull elements are known, so the rest of the body, tail, and limbs are hypothesized relative anatomy of similar size. It will be rebuilt based on the anatomy. Credit: Gabriel Ugueto

The set of Triassic archosaur fossils excavated in Tanzania in the 1960s is officially recognized as a separate species representing one of the earliest known members of the crocodile evolutionary lineage.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham, the Natural History Museum, and Virginia Tech named the animal. Mambawa Karelhufu.. This is one of the last studies of a collection of fossils excavated from Mandabed nearly 60 years ago. Geological formation Southern Tanzania.

The only known example of archaeological sites Mambawa Karelhufu,include Partial skull, Mandible, some vertebrae and hands. From these, the research team was able to identify some characteristic features that set it apart from the other archosaurs found in Mandabed.

These included large skulls over 75 cm in length, especially large nostrils, and significantly narrow nostrils. lower jaw There is a great deal of variation in the size of the teeth in the anterior part of the maxilla.

Richard Butler, a professor of paleontology at the University of Birmingham, said:Mambawa Karelhufu It would have been a big and scary predator who roamed Tanzania about 240 million years ago. About 5 meters long, it is one of the largest predators we have known since this time.

“Our analysis is Mamba Wakare One of the oldest known archosaurs, as an early member of the lineage that eventually evolved into a modern crocodile. It is an exciting discovery as identifying this animal helps to understand the rapid early diversification of archosaurs and allows us to add further links to the story of modern crocodile evolution. is. “

Research published in Royal Society Open Science, It also links the last loose end of an ambitious fossil expedition conducted by scientists, including paleontologist Alan Charig, in 1963. Most of the discoveries brought back from the expedition are now formally explained and cataloged, Mambawa Karelhufu It has not been announced until now.

In naming the specimens, the research team sought to acknowledge the previously unrecognized contribution of the Tanzanians to the success of the 1963 expedition. The name chosen comes from Swahili, one of Tanzania’s native languages. Mamba Wakare Means an ancient crocodile, Rufufu It refers to the Rufufu basin, the area where fossils were excavated.

The early discovery of “crocodile-like” reptiles sheds new light on the evolution of dinosaurs.

For more information:
Richard J. Butler and others, the new archosaur archosaur, the genus Mambawakarerufuf. etsp. A new species from the Middle Triassic Manda Formation, Tanzania, Royal Society Open Science (2022). DOI: 10.1098 / rsos.211622

Quote: Fossil excavated in the 1960s adds a missing link to the evolution of the crocodile (February 10, 2022).

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Fossil excavated in the 1960s adds a missing link to the evolution of the crocodile

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