Fossils are found all the time, but ground-breaking fossil discoveries like the one being shared by United States scientists who went exploring in Southeast Asia are absolutely fascinating.
These scientists have recently discovered a fossilized lizard encased in amber in Myanmar that is believed to be up to 99 million years old, which is up to 78 million years older than any other lizard fossil specimen found to date. The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances.
This age places the existence of this lizard some time in the middle of the cretaceous time period.
The lizard is reportedly chameleon-like in appearance, and at the time, it must have gotten itself stuck in a sticky tree resin while it was running around in the tropical forests it was found in. The resin is what the lizard is currently preserved in at this point in time.
Other reptile samples were also discovered in Myanmar, although they weren’t as well in-tact as the chameleon-like lizard was. The other samples included a gecko-like lizard and an arctic lizard.
Typically, the small bodies of these specimens just don’t hold up to weathering, but the amber casing that the fossil was trapped in has helped shield the fossil from the outside world and preserve it.
Being referred to as a ‘missing link’ of sorts, the chameleon-like preserved fossil illustrates a very good specimen of what may have existed on the planet ages ago. Because it’s so well preserved in the amber samples, there is a great deal that can be learned about the specimen.
Additional research in this department may very well lead to more advances in our understanding of what walked the Earth before we did.
Source: Science Advances