Scientists named the animal they discovered in honor of the giant sea serpent from the Scandinavian mythology Joermungandr.
A group of paleontologists has discovered the fossilized remains of a new species of finger-sized microsaur that lived 308 million years ago in Illinois. Information about this was published on Wednesday in the scientific journal of the Royal Society of Great Britain (Royal Society Open Science).
Scientists named the animal they discovered in honor of the giant sea serpent from the Scandinavian mythology of Joermungandr (Joermungandra bolti). However, the size of the fossil itself was only 5 cm, the Internet portal indicates Phys.org.
The discovered microsaur differs from the previously described ones by the presence of scales. The fossil is well preserved, and its particles were found in it, the portal indicates. In addition, Joermungander bolti had a strong skull and an oblong body, which allowed scientists to assume that he was able to dig holes in the ground.
This finding allows paleontologists to “better understand the habits of these lizard-like animals that inhabited the Earth long before the dinosaurs.” The discovery “sheds light on the evolution of various groups of animals, including amphibians and reptiles,” explains the Internet portal. Scientists admit that the microsaurs “could be relatives” of the latter.
“Microsaurs have recently become of great importance for understanding the origin of amniotes. Many representatives of micro-dinosaurs were considered the ancestors of either amphibians or reptiles, ” one of the authors of the study, Aryan Mann, told Agence France-Presse.
Amniotes are the common ancestors of modern mammals and reptiles. They appeared on the planet during the Carboniferous period (Carboniferous), which began more than 350 million years ago, notes Phys.org. In the same geological period, micro-dinosaurs lived.