(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers have discovered a missing link in the great reptiles’ family tree recently. It seems that the dinosaurs were ancestors of the fierce lizard, or Teyujagua, as the scientists call it. The extinct cold-blooded creature is the connection between dinosaurs and modern-day reptiles that researchers were looking for.
Roughly a billion years before the scientists found the fossilized skull of the Teyujagua paradoxa, a massive event affected all of the animals that dwelled on Earth at the time. The “Great Extinction”, or “The Great Dying”, as the names suggest it, almost cleared our planet of living life forms.
And for about 200 million years, the fierce lizard ruled the sea and the land, before it evolved in it modern-day reptilian forms. Of course, there were other animals left, but as far as lizards go, the Teyuiagua was the only one found to have survived the “Great Extinction.”
The skull of the fierce reptilian survivor was unearthed in the southern parts of Brazil. A study was then published in a specialized journal, mentioning critical factors such as the results of the carbon dating and the tremendous scientific value of the discovery.
The existence of material evidence that proves that the Twyuiagua paradoxa lived right after the event known as the “Great Dying” is the missing link that scientists were searching for. The fierce lizard now perfectly connects the evolution of the archosauriformes from the original lizards.
Fun fact, the archosauriforms family includes the notorious T-Rex and the image of delicacy, the hummingbird.
And since every important scientific discovery has an accident at its origin, the skull of the Twyuiagua paradoxa is no different. The fossil was discovered when one of the researchers present on the site tripped on a larger rock which ended up containing the remains of the most important lizard in the reptilian evolution history.
The paleontologists that happened upon the fossilized remains of the missing reptile are planning to continue with their research on the site. They are hoping that the Teyujagua was not the only missing link that was preserved in the area 250 million years ago.
The archosauriform vertebrates group, which has now a clear evolutionary pathway thanks to the discovery of the Teyujagua, includes a spectacularly diverse number of animals. From the Brachiosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the crocodile and the hummingbird, all of them share the Teyujagua in their family tree.
Dinosaurs were ancestors of the fierce lizard, but the hummingbird is its descendants. Sometimes evolution proves to be an ironic branch of science.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org