The newly-discovered remnants of a 250-million-year-old lizard might, in fact, rewrite the lizard’s whole evolutionary history. According to the scientists who literally stumble upon this ancient fossil, the missing lizard could fill the evolutionary gap between the first species of lizards and the archosauriforms genus.
The new genus of lizard dubbed Teyunjagua paradoxa or fierce lizard, live approximately 250 million years ago. At that time, the biota underwent a dramatical event called “The Great Dying” or “The Great Extinction”.
As scientists explain, this event that took place a quarter of a billion years ago. During this cataclysmic event our planet lost approximately 90 percent of its species of animals, lizards included. But not this resilient little lizard.
According to the team of scientists who has unearthed the remains of the lizard from a site in Southern Brazil, the small lizard managed somehow to survive the cataclysmic event, thus ensuring that the lizard genus doesn’t die along with it.
Why is this lizard so important? Before this momentous discoveries, there was a several million year gap between the first lizards that ever roamed our planet and the archosauriforms genus, which ruled the Earth for 180 million years after “The Great Dying”.
The discovery is attributed to a team of archeologists from the Universidade Federal do Pampa, led by Doctor Felipe Pinheiro. As Pinheiro recollects the events that resulted in the discovery of the fierce lizard, it would seem that chance had a significant role to play.
The doctor said that while examining a site, one of his team member tripped over and dislocated a rock from the ground. Upon a closer look, the scientists discovered that the dislocated rock was not a bare mineral, but it contained the perfectly preserved remains of a creature.
After taking the rock to the lab, to their bewilderment, the team saw that the so-called mineral contained the remains of an unknown lizard-like creature.
As the doctor explained, the lizard’s name of Teyunjagua paradoxa was not arbitrary. The fierce lizard was named after Teyu Jagua, a mythical monster-like character, which is often depicted in pictures and frescos as wearing the skull of a large dog.
Doctor Richard Butler, a professor at the University of Birmingham, said that the discovery is indeed momentous. Butler also added given Teyunjagua paradoxa’s anatomical structure; scientist can now explain how the archosauriforms evolved.
The professor said that the archosauriforms genus included a wider variety of lizards from T-Rex, Brachiosaurus, and crocodiles. Moreover, Teyunjagua paradoxa’s heritage can even be tracked down to the modern hummingbird.