Gordodon had a big cloth on his back. (Supplied: New Mexico Natural History Museum, Matt Celeskey)
"Preserved" remains of 300 million-year old reptiles were found in the United States, rewriting "the known evolutionary chronology," says the New Mexico Natural History Museum.
- The skeleton belongs to a new scientist called Gordodon kraineri
- Gordodon is derived from the Spanish word gordo, or fat, and the Greek word odon, or tooth
- It was about 1.5 meters long and weighed about 34 kilos
The museum made the announcement this week, saying that the unique structure of the skull, jaw and teeth of the reptile indicated it was a herbivore and that specialized herbal food was not previously known in reptiles older than 200 million years ago.
Bones were part of a "well preserved but incomplete skeleton," the museum said in a statement.
"The skeleton is that of an eupelycosaur, a group of animals that had a great success during the Permian period [Period], the museum said.
"Eupelycosaureles include the ancestors of mammals, making this new skeleton tied more to us than to dinosaurs."
The name of the new dinosaur honors an Austrian geologist. (Supplied: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)
Painter paleontologist Spencer Lucas and his team in the museum have determined that the bones were about 300 million years old, meaning that the reptiles lived in the first part of the Permian or more than 50 million years before the dinosaurs originated.
Dr. Lucas and research associate Matt Celeskey identified the skeleton as belonging to a new genus and species that they called Gordodon kraineri.
Dr. Lucas was part of the team at the fossil museum. (Supplied: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)
Gordodon is derived from the Spanish word gordo, (fat), and the Greek word odon (tooth), because the species had sharp teeth at the tips of the jaws.
The name of Krainer species honors Karl Krainer, an Austrian geologist who contributed to the knowledge of the Permian period in New Mexico.
"Gordodon resumes books, pushing our understanding of the evolution of such a herbivore about 100 million years ago," said Dr. Lucas.
Gordodon was about 1.5 meters long and weighed about 34 kilograms.
Gordodon shares some features with modern goats and deer. (Provided: Museum of Natural History and Science of New Mexico)
It was believed to have been a nutrient selector on herbs with high nutrient content due to the advanced structure of the skull, jaw and teeth.
Museum experts said other early herbivores were not selective, knocking on all the plants they had encountered.
They said that Gordodon had some of the same specialties found in modern animals such as goats and deers.
Bone bones were discovered near Alamogordo in southern New Mexico by Ethan Schuth during a trip to the Oklahoma University Geology Class in 2013.
Field crews spent about a year collecting the bones on the site, and more time was spent to remove the hard sandstone around the fossils, so the research could come up.
The details of this discovery were published in the November edition of the Electronic Palaeontology.
AP / ABC
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