World’s oldest plant-eating lizard discovered in Japan


This video from Poland is called Baltic Amber: The Living Gemstone Part 2. It includes the famous Lizard of Gdansk fossil inclusion.

From National Geographic:

New Fossil Is World’s Oldest Plant-Eating Lizard

Ker Than
for National Geographic News

March 24, 2008

A rare fossil discovered in Japan is the oldest known plant-eating lizard, which could shed light on an evolutionary puzzle that Charles Darwin described as an “abominable mystery,” scientists say.

The 130-million-year-old jaw and skull bones were unearthed in the Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan …

Based on the size of the skull, the researchers estimate that the lizard measured between 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) in length.

Prior to the new discovery, the oldest known plant-eating lizard was Dicothodon, which lived in North America about 100 million years ago.

Even today, fully herbivorous, or plant-eating, lizards are rare, with only about 3 percent of modern lizards belonging to the group. Most lizards eat flesh, usually insects, or a combination of flesh and plants.

Modern herbivorous lizards eat flowering plants, or angiosperms, whose buds and leaves are typically softer than nonflowering plants.

Thus the new fossil species, dubbed Kuwajimalla kagaensis, could indicate that angiosperms were already in existence and perhaps widespread millions of years earlier than had been thought, the researchers say.

“By finding this particular fossil from Japan, it might suggest that flowering plants were already there, but we don’t have direct evidence yet,” said study team member Makoto Manabe of Japan’s National Science Museum in Tokyo.

The discovery is detailed in a recent issue of the journal Paleontology.

Darwin’s Dilemma

Currently the oldest evidence a flowering plant is a 125-million-year-old fossil from China.

The apparently sudden appearance of angiosperms in the fossil record confounded Darwin, who worried that it might pose a problem for his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Australian painted dragon lizards: here.

From National Geographic:

An 87-million-year-old praying mantis found encased in amber in Japan may be a “missing link” between mantises from the Cretaceous period and modern-day insects.

8 thoughts on “World’s oldest plant-eating lizard discovered in Japan

  1. Pingback: Fossil insects in amber discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dinosaur age lizard discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Dinosaur discoveries in China | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Fossil insect discovery in Indian amber | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Jane Goodall and chimpanzees, new film | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Arkansas dinosaur tracks in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: How snakes evolved, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Marine plankton fossils discovered in amber | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.