Oldest Jesus Lizard Fossil Spotted in Wyoming
In a landmark discovery, museum curator Christian Sidor has found an ancestor of the present-day Jesus Lizard. The fossil was spotted by him in the Bridger Formation, which a section of the Rocky Mountains that runs through Wyoming.
In the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers opined that the fossil that has been unearthed is some five million years older than the previous oldest-discovered Jesus lizard. The lizard’s ability to wade through water, as in the biblical story of Jesus Christ, had earned it the name of Jesus lizard. This newly discovered species has been named Babibasiliscus alxi.
According to Jack Conrad, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, “This is the modern Jesus lizard living 48 million years ago. It's very, very similar. It tells us this group has been around a lot longer than we thought, and it diversified a lot more than we thought”.
Though the fossil only reveals the head and upper extremities, researchers have found striking similarities between it and other Jesus lizards. Other modern day species of Jesus lizards include iguanas and chameleons. All these species are able to swiftly scuttle across the surface of water.
What is worth noting is the fact that these water-walkers prefer the warm, wet weather of equatorial Central and South America, ranging from Mexico south to Colombia. This has led the researchers to conclude that some 48 million years ago, even Wyoming would have housed a warm, tropical climate.
Thus, fossil records can help offer a deeper insight into global climate fluctuations, which have taken place over the years.
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