EFE / Washington
Scientists discovered that they were "iguana" reptiles that were "cousins" of dinosaurs and lived about 250 million years ago in the Antarctica forests, reporting the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
"This new animal was a cofosaur, relative relative of crocodile and dinosaurs," explained Field Museum researcher from Chicago (USA) Brandon Peecook, lead author of the study.
"In its own, it seems like a lizard, but evolutionally it's one of the first members of that great group," he said. It tells us how dinosaurs and their nearest relatives started and expanded. "
The fossil skeleton is incomplete although paleontologists have been able to have a good perception of the animal, which was baptized as Antarctanax shackletoni (the first word means an Antarctic king and the second refers to the auditor Ernest Shackleton).
Based on what is similar to other fossils, the scientists found that the Antarctanax was a carnivorous animal that sang insects, protomamifers and amphibians.
However, for paleontologists, the most interesting thing about these reptiles is the time and place in which they lived.
"The more we find about the prehistoric Antarctic, the more common is", Peecook reflected. We believed that the Antarctic animals would be like those living in South Africa, since both land areas were united at the time. But we find that Antarctica wildlife is a unique surprise. "
Two million years before the Antarctanax lived, the Earth proved a major downturn due to climate change, caused by volcanic combat, which killed 90% of animal life.
In the years after that mass damage, new groups of animals were filled up empty.
"Before the great extinguishment, the archosaurs were only found on the equator, but then they were everywhere," said Peecook, adding that Antarctica had a combination of new animals and the remains of specimens that had disappeared from other places.
Antarctanax's perception supports the idea that Antarctica is a place of rapid evolution and variety after large ejection.
"The more types of animals we can find, the more we'll learn about the pattern of archosaurs that take control after a great extinguishment," said Peecook.