Fossils reveal a new species of burrowing reptile with features from an anteater and chameleon that lived 220 MILLION years ago in what is now the petrified forest national park
- Small fossils found in Arizona once belonged to a new species of an old lizard
- Skybalonyx Creator is a new drepanosaur who spent most of his life underground
- It was about two meters long with a tail lined with claw-like features
Fossils belonging to new species of a small burrowing reptile that migrated the earth 220 million years ago have been discovered in the petrified forest national park of Arizona.
Named Skybalonyx Creator, the prehistoric creature is a new species of drepanosaur that resembled both an anteater and a chameleon.
Researchers found that its towels resemble some contemporary burrowing animals like moles, and are very different from other drepanosaurs that have claws for climbing trees.
The ancient reptile also has enlarged second claws, a bird-like beak and tail lined with spines.
The team believes it dug into the ground like turtles and earthworms roaming the planet today.
Fossils belonging to new species of a small burrowing reptile that migrated the earth 220 million years ago have been discovered in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park outside Holbrook is considered one of the first places to study plants and animals from that period, sometimes known as the dawning age of dinosaurs.
The fossils were discovered by a team of researchers from the park, Virginia Tech, the University of Washington, Arizona State University, Idaho State University and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
Due to their small size, the team did not find them using traditional methods, but used a variety of metal screens and water to sift and decompose rocks to find the fossils.
Scientists believe the Skybalonyx Captain is a fossorial, which is a creature that spends most of its life underground.
Researchers found that its towels resemble some modern digging animals like moles, and are very different from other drepanosaurs that have claws for climbing trees (the image is a concept image)
The ancient reptile also has enlarged second claws, a bird-like beak and tail lined with spines. The team believes it dug into the ground like turtles and earthworms roaming the planet today
The fossils were found in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
It probably had similar digging motions as moles, along with turtles.
The team also notes in the study that it had shovel-like digging movements for a ground grain.
‘Skybalonyx creates unguals would have been well-suited for digging during the creation of caves, excavation of food and other forms of moving soil or dirt,’ the study reads.
Drepanosaur was neither a dinosaur nor a lizard and had forearms with a bird-like head on it that resembled a chameleon-like body.
The creature was about two feet long with gripping feet and a claw-like structure at the tip of the tail.