In the state of New Mexico, in the United States, they found the fossil of a herbivorous reptile of about 300 million years. This is the record of an animal of this older type that is known, and that is why the paleontologists who study it ensure that this fact will force the "rewrite" of the evolution of this type of creature.
"We will have to rewrite history books, removing the period of evolution of herbivorous animals," said Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology at the Museum of Natural History and Science of New Mexico, in a dialogue with EFE.
Speaking about the discovery of Gordodon, which is the name given to the reptile found, Luke said it was "one of the most significant discoveries." What makes the difference is that only herbivorous animals with characteristics similar to this animal less than 200 million years old were known.
Gordodon was discovered in 2013 near the town of Alamogordo, New Mexico, by Ethan Schuth during a trip with his class of Geology at the University of Oklahoma. It is estimated that the animal, when alive, is 1.5 meters in length and weighs about 34 kilos.
The discovery group, led by Professor Lynn Soreghan, contacted Lucas and the Albuquerque Museum, responsible for fossil extraction, treatment and research in the years to come, the Natural History and Science Museum reported this week. of New Mexico.
The unique structure of the skull, the jaws and the type of reptile teeth indicate that it was a herbivore, characteristics that were not known in this type of animals more than 200 million years ago.
Therefore, the Gordodon hallzgo compels us to rethink the ideas we had about the evolution of herbivores, which apparently comes earlier than previously believed.
According to paleontologist Lucas, the animal found lived in the Permian Period, about 50 million years before suggesting dinosaurs.
"It's more like us, mammals, than dinosaurs," explained the researcher. He further elaborates that the name Gordodon comes from the combination of the Spanish word "fat" and the Greek word "odon" or tooth, due to its long and pointed teeth at the tip of its jaws.
Lucas, along with researcher Matt Celeskey, identified the fossil as a new species of herbivore that, by its size and weight, would be tantamount to what is now a labrador dog.
Another significant aspect of the discovery is that the first herbivores were considered to eat all types of plants, but the reptile found in New Mexico "also ingested seeds and fruits" such as sheep, deer and rabbits today, says the researcher. .
"We have indications that Gordodon was more selective in what he ate," Lucas concluded.