Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Early Reptile Identified

A find that was originally thought to be an early dinosaur has now been identified as an early reptile. A University of California Santa Barbara news release has this to say:
After scientists pieced together an entire skull of this 230-million-year-old azendohsaur –– a group known previously from just teeth and jaws –– these animals have now been aligned with a very early branch of the reptile evolutionary tree.

In a study published in the journal Palaeontology, UC Santa Barbara Earth Science professor Andre Wyss and other scientists concluded that many aspects of Azendohsaurus are far more primitive than previously assumed, which means that its plant-eating adaptations –– similar to those found in some early dinosaurs –– were developed independently.
This shows that the early reptiles diversified and adaptively radiated along side the dinosaurs. It also shows that as reptiles adapted and radiated to different niches, some adaptations were common in both dinosaurs and reptiles. This "adaptation" is common in biological organisms and shows up in the fossil record in numerous places.

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