The "very strange" prehistoric platypus hunting by touching its beak 250 million years ago
- Eretmorhipi's carol dongi swam shallow in what is now China
- The 70 cm long creature hunted by use his carton to feel "for prey
- Fossil provides evidence of rapid development during the early Triassic
Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com
While the duck picture platypus is one of the strangest creatures on earth today, its prehistoric family was just as strange, archaeologists have revealed.
A newly discovered marine reptile, officially known as Eretmorhipi's carrolongongi, swam the low seas in what is now China 250 million years ago to find prey on touch using the bill.
Experts admit that they were confused by the strange biology of the animal.
The newly discovered marine reptile, officially known as Eretmorhipi's carrolongongi, swam the low seas in what is now China 250 million years ago to find prey on touch using the bill.
The Prehistoric Platypus
Eretmorhipi's carrolongongi swam the low seas in what is now China 250 million years ago.
It was about 70 centimeters long with a long stiff body, small head and small eyes and four flaps for swimming and steering.
Bony plates ran down on the animal's back.
Fedly fed with prawns, worms and other small invertebrates.
Found switch on touch with a cartilage image
& # 39; This is a very strange animal, Professor Ryosuke Motani, a paleontologist at the University of California, Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and co-author on paper in Scientific Reports said.
& # 39; When I started thinking about biology, I was really confused. & # 39;
Eret morphisis was about 70 centimeters long with a long stiff body, small head and small eyes and four flippers for swimming and steering.
Bony plates ran down the animal's back.
It was previously known only from partial fossils without head until two new fossils show the animal's skull had bones that would have supported a cartilage.
As the typical platypus, there is a large hole in the bones in the middle of the bill.
In platypus, the bill is filled with receptors that allow it to hunt by touch in muddy streams and the bill is sensitive to touch so that the animal can hunt under low light conditions.
A complete fossil and line drawing of Eretmorhipis carrolldongi. In connection with the dolphin-like ichthyosaurs, Eretmorhipis developed into a world destroyed by the mass extermination event at the end of the Permeric era.
Comparison of skulls of the duckbilled platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), left, and Eretmorhipis carrolldongi to the right. Blue shadow indicates cartilage.
In the early Trias, the area was covered by a low sea, about one meter deep over a carbonate platform extending for hundreds of miles.
Eretmorhipi's fossils were found on what were deeper holes or lagoons in the platform.
There are no fossils to show what Eretmorhipis ate, but it has probably fed shrimp, worms and other small invertebrates, Motani said.
Its long leg body means that Eretmorhipis was probably a bad swimmer, Motani said. 19659009] It wouldn't survive in the modern world, but it didn't have any rivals at that time, & # 39; he said.
In connection with the dolphin-like ichthyosaurs, Eretmorhipis developed into a world devastated by the mass extermination event at the end of the Permian era.
The fossil gives more evidence of rapid development that occurred during the early Triassic, Motani said.