Home Animals Wild Life A New Species of Ancient Marine Lizard Has Just Been Discovered

A New Species of Ancient Marine Lizard Has Just Been Discovered

University of Alberta paleontologists discovered a new species of marine lizard that lived 70 to 75 million years ago, with its muscle and skin remarkably well preserved.

The fossil is a dolichosaur, a marine lizard related to snakes and mosasaurs. Called Primitivus manduriensis, it was found in Puglia, Italy, and named after the local Manduria variety of red wine grape, Primitivo.

The fossil was discovered in what was once a shallow water environment. After it died, the lizard fell to the bottom and was covered in sediment, safe from the moving water that would otherwise have scattered its remains. And with no apparent predators around to feed on the carcass, it remained largely intact. Ph.D. student Ilaria Paparella, lead author of the study detailing the discovery, explained:

The fossil is significantly younger than other existing specimens from the group, extending the time range of their existence by about 15 million years. For Paparella, one of the most interesting things about the specimen was the ability to study the soft tissues, including scales, muscle, and skin. She conducted the research as part of her Ph.D. with U of A paleontologist Michael Caldwell, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Paparella said:

The paper, “A New Fossil Marine Lizard With Soft Tissues From the Late Cretaceous of Southern Italy,” was published in Royal Society Open Science.

Provided by: Katie Willis, University of Alberta [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

Like this article? Subscribe to our weekly email for more!     

Troy Oakes
Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

Most Popular

Newsmax Survey: Majority of US Supports Election Recount

A recent survey conducted by Newsmax and McLaughlin & Associates showed that two-thirds of Americans are okay with President Donald Trump asking for a...

American Economy Surges By Record 33.1 Percent

The U.S. economy grew by 33.1 percent for the July-September quarter this year. This is the largest quarterly gain in history since records started...

Dominion Employee Previously Worked for Chinese State Company

An employee from Dominion Voting Systems, which is one of the largest voting machine providers in the U.S., has been found to have previously...

Trump Will Campaign For Georgia Senators In Runoff Elections

President Donald Trump will be participating in a rally on Dec. 5 in Georgia to support U.S. Senate candidates of the Republican Party in...