Oldest reptile footprints discovered

This video says about itself:

Walking with Monsters” (also distributed as “Before the Dinosaurs: Walking With Monsters” or “Walking with Monsters: Life before Dinosaurs”) is a BBC´s three-part British documentary film series about life in the Paleozoic, bringing to life extinct arthropods, fish, amphibians, synapsids, and reptiles. Using state-of-the-art visual effects, this is the prequel to “Walking with Dinosaurs” and shows nearly 300 million years of Paleozoic history, from the Cambrian Period (530 million years ago) to the Early Triassic Period (248 million years ago).

I made a video where I put together some shots of my favourite creatures. Animals shown are:

Anomalocaris (“Anomalous shrimp“) an 1 meter wide creature thought to be closely related to the arthropods.

Arthropleura was a 0.3–2.6 meter (1–8.5 feet) long relative of centipedes and millipedes, native to the Upper Carboniferous (340-280 million years ago). It was the largest known land invertebrate of all time.

Brontoscorpio (“thunder scorpion“) was a 1-metre long aquatic scorpion that lived during the Silurian period.

Diictodon was an herbivorous, roughly 45 cm (18 inches) long. He digs holes and hide under the ground, to escape from predators.

Dimetrodon was a predatory synapsid (‘mammal-like reptile’) genus that flourished during the Permian Period, living between 280-265 million years ago. It was more closely related to mammals than to true reptiles such as lizards. Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur, despite being popularly grouped with them. It grew to up to 3 1/2 meters (11 feet) in length. The name Dimetrodon means ‘two-measures of teeth’, so named because it had a large skull with two different types of teeth (shearing teeth and sharp canine teeth), unlike reptiles.

Edaphosaurus (“earth lizard”) was a primitive herbivorous pelycosaur. Shown in herds being watched by Dimetrodon.

Hyneria was a prehistoric predatory fish that lived during the Devonian period around 360 million years ago. It was approximately 4 meters in length and weighed as much as two tons. There is also evidence from bones that it had very strong fins and maybe could go onto land.

Meganeura was a predatory prehistoric insect of the Carboniferous period (300 million years ago), resembling and related to the present-day dragonfly. With a wingspan of more than 75 cm (2.5 feet) wide, it was the largest known flying insect species to ever appear on Earth.

Proterosuchus was the largest land reptile during the Early Triassic period, equivalent in size to today’s Komodo Dragons. It looked similar to a primitive crocodile.

Pterygotus is the second-largest known sea scorpion and one of the largest arthropods of all time. It could reach a length of 2.3 m (about 7 feet). A female is shown capturing a brontoscorpio to feed her young.

Trilobites (“three-lobes”) appeared in the Early Cambrian period and flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era. The last of the trilobites disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago. Because of their diversity and an easily fossilized exoskeleton, they left an extensive fossil record with some 17,000 known species, making them a very famous fossil group.

(From Wikipedia)

Music: Yanni — “November sky” (From “With I Could tell You” Album)

Images and musics copyright of their respective owners.

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

Oldest reptile footprints found

Reptile footprints, believed to be the oldest ever discovered, provide evidence of the first creatures to live exclusively on land, scientists say.

Published: 2:46AM BST 30 Jul 2010

The 318 million-year-old fossilised reptile footprints were found in sea-cliffs on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada by Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London.

The discovery proves the theory that reptiles were the first to make the continental interiors their home.

This is because reptiles do not need to return to water to breed unlike their amphibian cousins.

The rocks in which they occur show that the reptiles lived on dry river plains hundreds of miles from the sea.

These pioneers then paved the way for the diverse ecosystems that exist on land today, the study showed.

The study, undertaken with Professor Mike Benton of the University of Bristol and Canadian colleagues, was published in journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Professor Benton said: ”The footprints date from the Carboniferous Period when a single supercontinent (Pangaea) dominated the world.

”At first life was restricted to coastal swamps where lush rainforest existed, full of giant ferns and dragonflies.

”However, when reptiles came on the scene they pushed back the frontiers, conquering the dry continental interiors.”

The same team reported the oldest known reptile footprints from a different site in New Brunswick in 2007.

The new discovery is of similar age, and may be even older.

Dr Falcon-Lang added: ”The Bay of Fundy is such an amazing place to hunt for fossils.

”The sea-cliffs are rapidly eroding and each rock-fall reveals exciting new fossils. You just never know what will turn up next.’

See also here. And here. And here. And here.

The discovery of ancient crocodile fossils in Tanzania by a National Geographic grantee shows the croc was more like a mammal than other reptiles of its era. The reptile had mammal-like teeth and legs as well as nostrils on the front of its head, indicating that the animal spent more time on land than crocodiles of today: here.

Permian pelycosaur (?) discovered in Germany: here.

Probably the largest flying insect that ever lived, fossils of Meganeuropsis permiana have been discovered that have a wing span of just under 30 inches and a total body length of 17 inches. These were the largest creatures flying in the Carboniferous and Permian skies and like their smaller close relatives the modern dragonflies were voracious predators. Or perhaps more accurately, even more so: here.

Back in the Permo-Carboniferous era, some 350-300 million years ago, our atmosphere was much richer in oxygen. There were also some monster insects on the prowl, and it’s long been hypothesised that the enriched air was a vital prerequisite for their survival: here.

8 thoughts on “Oldest reptile footprints discovered

  1. Pingback: Smaller rainforests helped Carboniferous-Permian reptiles | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Devonian era animals and plants | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Ancient sea scorpions’ tails, weapons? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Ancient amphibians’ teeth, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Big carnivorous dinosaur discovery in Lesotho | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Oldest reptile tracks ever discovery in Grand Canyon, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Ancient Triassic woodlouse discovery in Dutch Winterswijk | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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