Scientists have discovered in Antarctica a 250 million-year-old dinosaur ancestor of iguanas, according to the results published in Journal of vertebrate paleontology on Thursday.
The new species was named Antarctanax shackletoni. The first part of the name refers to the "Antarctic King," and the second part gives tribute to Ernest Shackleton, a twentieth-century explorer who named Fremouw's formation, a rock form in Antarctica where the species was dug by the lead author Brandon Peecook during the 2010-09 Antarctic expedition during the Australian summer. The study was written by Peecock as well as scientists from the University of Washington and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Antarctanax lived in the early morning triax, several thousand years after the end of the mass extermination event in Perm, when 70 percent of his life died on the ground. The Antarctic King belonged to a group of reptiles of archosaurus, precursors of dinosaurs and modern crocodiles. Archosaurs flourished after the devastation of the final Permian desertion, but paleontologists still do not know what allowed them to thrive as most of life on Earth disappeared.
A typical story of the early Triassic period, Peecook told the Motherboard, is a gradual recovery. Paleontologists thought life was slowly emerging and still recovering from the end-Permian ruin. But Peecook said the Antarctic King suggests that life can recover faster than he thought earlier.
"By itself,[[[[ Antarctanax shackletoni]not surprising animal – it looks like an animal should look like it was such a thing at the time, "said Peecook." But this bigger point emphasizes that ancestors such as dinosaurs and crocodiles are part of this really explosive radiation [of life], right after this terrible event on the history of the country. "
Antarctanax shackletoniDiscover bones include his vertebrae, leg bones and legs and ribs. Although they did not find the skull with their teeth, scientists are convinced that reptiles are carnivorous. "We know for sure where the tree of life is next to the archosaurus and everything is carnivorous," Peecook said.
The Antarctic King lived at a time when Antarctica was linked to Pangea, a supercontinent that once combined all seven continents today. In spite of being near the poles, according to Peecook, the environment for Antarctica Antarctanax shackletoni was warm due to the warming of the atmospheric greenhouse. In Antarctica, endless species of conifers, ferns and several other types of old lizards have been discovered to live next to the Antarctic King.
"There were a lot of small carnivores [Antarctic] forest, "said Peecook," some of the amphibians are as big as Antarctanax, and almost all amphibians are also carnivores. So there will be a lot of little boys who are likely to act, eat young and eat insects. "
The fact that Antarctica was still connected with Pangea meant that Fremouw, where the species was found, was adjacent to areas such as Australia, South Africa, and South America.
Peecook said on the motherboard that species like the Antarctic King made Antarctic box office paleontologists. "It's a lot of raw discoveries and it's such an adventure," Peecook said on the motherboard.
"It's great to be part of the Antarctic discovery because it's still new," Peecook said. "Antarctica is one of the last places on Earth, where you send scientists, we always come back with the ten exciting things we talk about, there's so much we do not know."