'Mother of All Lizards' Slithered Around Italy 240M Years Ago

The fossil of Megachirella wachtleri

Four legs, a body covered with scales and a long snout: researchers announced Wednesday, have identified an ancestor of lizards and snakes, older than 240 million years. During this time, dinosaurs were just emerging, and Earth only had the large landmass of Pangea. Its new home? At the beginning of the squamate branch, single-handedly dragging the timeline for lizards back 75 million years.

Scans of the fossilised skeleton of Megachirella revealed the chameleon-sized reptile was an ancestor of today's lizards and snakes, which belong to a group called squamates, an global team wrote in the science journal Nature.

Caldwell added that the fossil gave them the information they needed "on the evolution of snakes and lizards".

Simoes and his team of researchers used CT scans to build 3-D models of the fossil and found several features linking Megachirella to other squamates, include part of the braincase and the structure of its collarbone.

This discovery shows that squamates appeared far earlier than previously thought and that they were able to survive the mass extinction that occurred when the dinosaurs died out.

Some have dubbed it the "Mother of Dragons" but the scientists have named it Megachirella wachtleri.

"US and Russian Federation were close to direct clash in Syria" - English
The Kurdish YPG and its allies have carved out autonomous regions in the north, and they now control almost a quarter of Syria . Iran-backed militias including Lebanon's Hezbollah have played a big role in support of Assad during the conflict.

Simões and his colleagues have written and published their study on 30 May in the journal Nature.

For the researchers, if a lizard was already on the Earth there are 240 million years, this implies that its origin is still more ancient, and that it could therefore date from before the extinction of the Permian-Triassic, there are some 252 million years ago.

Self-described explorer Michael Wachtler first found the fossil, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Paleontologist Christy Hipsley has noted that this particular form of 3-D scanning is not only non-invasive but that it has the unbelievable ability to allow scientists to fully explore areas of fossils that they wouldn't ordinarily be able to observe.

But today, micro CT scan with a higher resolution, allowed scientists to look inside the rock and see all the features that were inside it.

"I spent almost 400 days visiting over 50 museums and university collections across 17 countries to collect data on fossil and living species of reptiles to understand the early evolution of reptiles and lizards", Simões explained to the AFP. The conditions under which the fossil was found - in marine sediments but surrounded by fossilized land plants - suggest that a powerful storm hit the coastline where megachirella lived and swept the tiny critter out to sea. The area was once a series of islands that feature rich vegetation and fine sand beaches.

Related News:

  • Harvey Weinstein hit with rape allegation in new lawsuit

    Harvey Weinstein hit with rape allegation in new lawsuit

    Weinstein told her the meeting would continue at the Tribeca Grand Hotel after he finished editing a movie, the complaint says. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly.
    Rafa Nadal overcomes challenge from lucky loser Simone Bolelli at French Open

    Rafa Nadal overcomes challenge from lucky loser Simone Bolelli at French Open

    Williams has played just four matches in 2018, the last of which was a first-round exit to Naomi Osaka in Miami. Williams was later making her comeback to Grand Slam tennis following the birth of her daughter in September.
    Scientists: Protein diet can provoke heart failure and diabetes

    Scientists: Protein diet can provoke heart failure and diabetes

    Intake of Different Dietary Proteins and Risk of Heart Failure in Men: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. After that, the scientists watched them for 22 years, during which 330 participants were diagnosed with heart failure.
  • Palestinian female paramedic killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border violence

    The resolution drafted by Kuwait, the only Arab member of the Security Council, had undergone numerous revisions in recent weeks. The Security Council has been deeply divided and paralyzed over dealing with the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Here's everything you need to know about the Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron

    Moving piston engines aren't new to Technic , but it is cool to see that Lego managed to create a tiny version of the W16 engine. It has 10 radiators, takes 2.5 seconds to go from 0-62mph, and can drain its 100-litre fuel tank in nine minutes at full chat.
    Deadbeat son, 30, finally moving out of parents' home

    Deadbeat son, 30, finally moving out of parents' home

    Michael Rotondo , the 30-year-old man who defied his parents' various eviction notices, is finally moving out of the NY home. Rotondo, whose eviction from his parents' home drew national attention finally left hours before a court-ordered deadline.
  • Step aside Trudeau, Spain’s new prime minister is nicknamed

    Step aside Trudeau, Spain’s new prime minister is nicknamed "Mr. Handsome"

    Spanish Congress has just conducted a historic no-confidence vote that has removed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy from office. Sanchez backed Rajoy on his firm line in defense of the Spanish constitution, which doesn't permit regions to break away.
    U.S.  smashes expectations for new jobs as unemployment edges down

    U.S. smashes expectations for new jobs as unemployment edges down

    And anecdotally, companies continue to lament about how hard it is to fill positions for highly skilled workers . This means unemployment is at its lowest level in decades, matching April 2000 as the lowest rate since 1969.
    Disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein indicted on rape charges

    Disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein indicted on rape charges

    He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, and Mr Brafman said his client was confident he would clear his name. Vance Jr. said in a statement. "Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs".
  • Storms causing flash flooding concerns for DC area

    Storms causing flash flooding concerns for DC area

    Ellicott City , just west of Baltimore, is consistently ranked among the best places to live in America by Money magazine. A Flood Warning has been issued until 8:15 p.m. for Fairfax County and City of Fairfax in Virginia .
    Trudeau Says Pence Scuttled NAFTA Deal With Untenable Ultimatum

    Trudeau Says Pence Scuttled NAFTA Deal With Untenable Ultimatum

    President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to rail against Canada for what he sees as a mistreatment of USA farmers. Trump was unsympathetic when told complaints were coming from some of the nation's closest allies.
    Chinese universities ranked among global elite

    Chinese universities ranked among global elite

    Baty said: “All UK universities have either fallen down the global pecking order this year or stayed static. While Cambridge retain the 4 position, Oxford, which had been joint-fourth a year ago , slipped to fifth.

Most liked

Facebook Kills Off Trending Topics Feature
The company is also funding news videos, created exclusively for Facebook by outside publishers it would not yet name. A 3D-printed Facebook like button is seen in front of the Facebook logo, in this illustration taken October 25, 2017.

Navarro contradicts Mnuchin's assertion that trade war with China is on hold
The White House has planned to send Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to China on June 2 to continue the trade negotiations. Proposed investment restrictions will be announced by June 30 and also take effect at a later date.

ABC reportedly looking to reboot 'Roseanne' with focus on Sara Gilbert
Hulu, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMTall pulled the show from their networks, too. A re-reboot could help keep numerous " Roseanne " cast and crew members employed.

Vermont offers to pay remote workers $10,000 to move to state
Vermont is, of course, famous for its maple syrup, producing almost two million gallons of the delicious sweet product in 2017. The first-come, first-served remote worker grants are only available to new residents who relocate on or after January 1, 2019.

United States changes name, commanders for Pacific combatant command
The U.S.is India's second-largest weapons supplier with almost $15 billion worth of sales over the last decade. He is tasked with bolstering the Japan-U.S. alliance and addressing China's growing maritime assertiveness.

Lakers not interested in LiAngelo Ball after pre-draft workout
Bonaventure), Tyus Battle ( Syracuse ), Devon Hall ( Virginia ), Dusan Ristic ( Arizona ) and Thomas Welsh (UCLA) in the workout. And on Tuesday, he would go through a pre-draft workout - alongside other prospects - with the Los Angeles Lakers .

Woman Claims 'Crude' Seatmate on Southwest Flight Masturbated Next to Her
The flights are scheduled so that a customer could make a one-day round-trip beginning in Oklahoma City, Suarez said. After Shariat said she was too scared to do so, they instructed her to point out the guy after the plane landed.

Buffett eyed US$3 bln Uber investment but talks failed
During the financial crisis, Berkshire threw lifelines to companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Electric Co. The legendary investor and Berkshire chairman added that he is a "great admirer" of Khosrowshahi.

Uber, Lyft drivers in Los Angeles struggle to prosper
Lyft said in its statement that its drivers make a median income of $25 an hour; before expenses that can run between $3 and $5. The two ride-booking companies are both based in San Francisco and now operate nationally and, in the case of Uber , worldwide.

Markets up as Italy prepares to swear in first populist govt
A tumultuous campaign, inconclusive election results, political deadlock and fears of fresh elections put the markets in a spin. When he joined the Five Star Movement during the recent election, he said he supported center-left political ideals.

Khloe Kardashian's BF Tristan Thompson Gets Into a Fight During NBA Finals
That offended Thompson, who then subsequently jawed with Warriors forward Draymond Green for clapping about his ejection. However, Love said he was not anxious about receiving disciplinary action from the league for the sequence.

Facebook to pull plug on 'Trending' topics feature
Facebook introduced a feature called Trending in 2014, and you can probably guess what it did even if you never touch Facebook. The company is also funding news videos, created exclusively for Facebook by publishers it would not yet name.

Trump and aides: We're meeting to re-schedule Kim Jong Un summit
Experts point to countries resistant to the USA sanctions as helping keep Kim's $40 billion economy going, the Journal reported . The latest news concerning the summit is that the two leaders may be joined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Warriors reach 4th straight NBA Finals
This season was no cakewalk for them, either. "Believe it or not, it's not all success with the Warriors ". Paul was injured in the fourth quarter of Houston's win over the Warriors on Thursday night.

U.S. teens are ditching Facebook
Back then, Facebook , Instagram , Snapchat , and Twitter were the most popular social media apps among teenagers. Of those polled, 85 percent said they use YouTube, 72 percent use Instagram and 69 percent are on Snapchat.