[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

This was in the AOL science section

Want to send this story to another AOL member? Click on the heart at the top 
of this window.

Fossil of oldest two-legged reptile found in Germany

.c Kyodo News Service  

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (Kyodo) - A fossil dating back 290 million years and 
believed to be of the oldest two-legged reptile has been found in central 
Germany, the U.S. journal Science said in its Friday issue. 

The journal said the well-preserved fossil, found in a quarry by a team of 
researchers from the United States, Canada and Germany, is an almost 
perfectly complete skeleton of the ancient running reptile, which appears to 
have walked on two legs long before the age of dinosaurs. 

Scientists have believed that dinosaurs are the first creatures to have 
walked on land on two legs, but the fossil discovered in central Germany, 
named Eudibamus cursoris, seems to indicate otherwise. 

The fossil, just 26.1 centimeters long, dates to over 60 million years before 
the emergence of dinosaurs, the oldest known member of the Parareptilia group 
of primitive reptiles. 

The skeletal features of the Eudibamus fossil ''suggest that the reptile 
could move swiftly on two legs, probably up on its toes, using an upright 
posture with the limbs movinged the running posture of human beings, it said. 

The researchers who found the fossil said evidence of bipedal abilities in 
the reptile can be seen in analyzing the arrangement of the hip, knee and 
ankle joints in its lower limbs. 

The reptile also had unusually long feet and tail, while its upper limbs were 
relatively short for its overall size and its lower limbs relatively long. 

The researchers said they believe Eudibamus was a herbivore but probably 
needed to run fast to flee from carnivorous predators. Edibamus apparently 
became extinct toward the end of the Permian period 250 million years ago, 
according to the researchers. 

AP-NY-11-02-00 1406EST