240 million-year-old fossil of salamander-like creature with ‘gnarly teeth’ unearthed in rocks for garden wall
A retired chicken farmer discovered the rock in the late 1990s and donated them in the mid-1990s to the Australian Museum, where researchers gave the new species Arenaerpeton supinates.
Scientists have identified a 240 million-year-old giant salamander-like creature first unearthed decades ago in rocks intended for a garden wall in Australia. Its species, Arenaerpeton supinates, which translates to “supine sand creeper,” -was estimated to be four inches (1.2 meters) long and was a river that was inhabited within the present Sydney Basin during the Triassic period (251.9 million to 201.3 million years back) according to an article published on the 3rd of August. 3. in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
“This fossil is a unique example of a group of extinct animals known as the temnospondyls, which lived before and during the time of the dinosaurs,” study lead author Lachlan Hart is who is a doctoral student studying dinosaur paleontology at the University of New South Wales as well as at the Australian Museum, said in the form of a declaration.
The amphibian remains are exceptionally well preserved and can even show prints of the creature’s body. “We don’t often find skeletons with the head and body still attached, and the soft tissue preservation is an even rarer occurrence,” Hart stated.
A retired chicken farmer found the fossil over 30 years ago in rocks taken from a quarry intended to be used for a retaining wall. The former farmer donated the specimen to the Australian Museum.
The fossil resembled the present-day Chinese gigantic salamander ( Andrias davidianus). The new amphibian has been named bigger than the closely related species which lived simultaneously; however, temnospondyls increased in size after A. supinatus was extinct. “The final temnospondyls lived located in Australia around 120 million years following Arenaerpeton and a few increased in size up of 20 feet (6 m)] )],” Hart claimed. “The fossil record of temnospondyls spans across two mass extinction events, so perhaps this evolution of increased size aided in their longevity.”
The creature’s ribs and the contours of its skin indicate that it could have been “considerably more heavyset than its living descendants,” which could comprise modern amphibians ( Lissamphibia), Hart added. “It also had some pretty gnarly teeth, including a pair of fang-like tusks on the roof of its mouth.”
According to the researchers, A. supinates may have used teeth to shred and stab its prey, including ray-finned fish from the past,