Scientists say recent discovery 'rewrites the known evolutionary timeline' | KOB 4
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Scientists say recent discovery 'rewrites the known evolutionary timeline'

Scientists say recent discovery 'rewrites the known evolutionary timeline'

Marian Camacho
November 21, 2018 11:52 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - An historic discovery has been made in the rocks near Alamogordo, New Mexico. 

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The incomplete skeleton of a plant-eating reptile called the Gordodon, was found near Alamogordo by Ethan Schuth while on a field trip in March of 2013 with his geology class from the University of Oklahoma.

Schuth contacted officials at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science who then collected the bones. Removing the fossil from the hard sandstone was a painstaking two-year process.

Once completed, experts were able to conduct research on the fossil and present their findings.

They say the unique structure of the skull, jaws, and teeth show the reptile was a specialized herbivore and that knowledge is rewriting what scientists know about the evolutionary timeline.

The sail-backed reptile is said to be from the Permian age, dating it to be about 300 million years old.

Experts say such specialized plant-eating was not known in reptiles pre-dating 200 million years.

“Previously, the oldest known animals with teeth as specialized as Gordodon were found in rocks no older than 205 million years ago, which is the Late Triassic period,” said Lucas. “Gordodon extends this advanced type of plant-eating by 95 million years. Therefore, the discovery of Gordodon rewrites paleontologists’ understanding of the early history of reptilian herbivory.”

Scientists say the reptile would have been about five-feet long and weighed approximately 75 pounds.

Click here to learn more from Spencer Lucas, Phd., Curator of Paleontology from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

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Marian Camacho

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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