Saturday, March 25, 2023

They found fossil remains from 180 million years ago that could explain the mystery of today’s amphibians

The discovery was made in Arizona and the remains belong to the Triassic Caecilians.

an incredible discovery was made in Arizona, United States, team of scientists Virginia Institute of Technology discovered Fossil remains of Triassic caeciliansare the oldest of the amphibians and Could help understand currently living amphibians,

According to the study published by the media NatureAccording to the article, records of small vertebrates have been able to “revise our paleontological knowledge of history”.

Until now, the oldest fossils of this species of amphibian were from the Lower Jurassic, 183 million years ago, although evolutionary DNA analysis suggested they were already present between 370 and 270 million years ago in the Carboniferous or Permian. millions of years ago.

This gap of “at least 87 million years” in the record could have been closed, celebrates Ben KligmanHe is one of the discoverers of these new fossil remains, found in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park in 2019, and has named the organism Funcusvermis gilmori.

What are caecilians like?

Caecilians have lived on Earth for over 180 million years.

Extant caecilians are amphibians with subterranean habits that live only in tropical regions resulting from the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. (South America, Africa, India, Seychelles and South East Asia),

Their anatomy is adapted to life underground, which is why they lack limbs, an elongated body, ranging in size from 10 centimeters to a meter and a half, and rudimentary or degenerated eyes.

“Caecilian fossils are exceptionally rare, and are discovered by mistake when paleontologists are looking for fossils of other, more common mammals. Our discovery was completely unexpected,” Kligman explained in a statement.

It specifies that Funcusvermis was found in a Petrified Forest approximately 220 million years old, when present-day Arizona was located near the equator in a warm and humid climate zone.

According to the expert, this animal shares skeletal features close to earlier fossil remains of amphibian relatives such as frogs and salamanders, providing evidence of a shared origin and reinforcing the close evolutionary relationship between caecilians and these two groups.

“Unlike modern caecilians, Funksuvormis does not have many adaptations associated with burrowing abilities, indicating a slow acquisition of characteristics associated with an underground lifestyle at an early stage of its evolution,” Klingman said.

Since the first discovery of the remains in 2019, experts have recovered more fossils, including 70 lower jaws, several upper jaws, a vertebra and part of a lower limb, making the site “the most abundant ever discovered”. has gone.

Although they have not been able to construct a complete skeleton to determine the exact size of the animal, they assert that from the lower jaw, about six millimeters long, they were “small” caecilians.

A funky little “worm”, mocks Clingman, who named his genus and species Funcusovermis gilmori after the Ohio Players’ song “Funky Worm” (1972) and paleontologist Ned Gilmore, an “important mentor” to him, respectively The name has been Latinized. , as reported Efe.

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