22 July 2021

A finger-sized fossil unearthed in United States.

A finger-sized fossil from 308 million years ago unearthed in the United States gives tantalizing clues to the habits of tiny dinosaurlike creatures that may be the forerunners of reptiles.

The new species is a microsaur — small lizardlike animals that roamed the Earth well before proper dinosaurs made their appearance.

The find sheds important light on the evolution of different animal groups, including amphibians and reptiles, scientists wrote in the journal Royal Society Open Science. 

Microsaurs lived during the Carboniferous period, when the forebears of modern mammals and reptiles, called amniotes, first appeared.

Encased in a bog in what is today the central United States, the specimen's serpentlike body measures about 5 centimeters (2 inches). 

The animals had four short, plump legs.

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