South Africa: Paleontologists discover fossils of a species that survived a mass extinction 251 million years ago

Author: Clark Tos
2022-09-23 17:30:02

Eleven years ago, paleontologists discovered fossils of several groups of lystrosaurus in South Africa, 250 million years after their extinction.

You may not know it, but Lystrosaurus was a genus of reptile belonging to the order Therapsids, also known as mammalian reptiles.

This amazing creature lived on Earth between 259 and 247 million years ago. It is one of the few species that survived the mass extinction of the Permian-Triassic. This biological crisis decimated more than 70% of terrestrial vertebrates and 96% of marine animals around 252 million years ago.

Photo credit: Getty images

An important discovery

Eleven years ago, paleontologists discovered two extremely well-preserved Lystrosaurus fossils in the southern Karoo basin ( South Africa ). The details of the study, published in a specialized journal , suggest that these specimens survived extinction before disappearing due to climate change.

During the excavation, scientists also discovered 170 tetrapod fossils in the area. For their part, the two lystrosaurus found lived at the beginning of the Triassic, about 251 million years ago.

Photo credit: Roger Smith

According to specialists, the latter succumbed to the high heat and drought caused by climate change. As the magazine says Sciencepost , the skin impressions found in the rock reveal that the two specimens “dried up and mummified” after their deaths.

« As we observe today with global warming, it seems that warming increases the probability of extreme events ,” confided Pia Viglietti of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. « This is perhaps what happened at the beginning of the Triassic ».

Photo credit: Roger Smith

The study authors also explain that these species may have sought water and food together before taking shelter and losing their lives.

Source : Gizmodo