FOREST FOREST NATIONAL PARK, Arizona. (AP) – Researchers have found fossils of a tiny reptile hole in a vast expanse of fossil forest in eastern Arizona.
The new species is called the Skybalonyx skapter, part of a group known as the Cretaceous Drepanosaurs about 220 million years ago.
The Fossil Forest National Park near Holbrook is considered one of the main places to study the plants and animals of that period, sometimes called the dinosaur dawn age.
Researchers say that ancient reptiles are strange because of their morphology, which includes enlarged second claws, bird-like beaks, and tailed tails. They probably looked like something in between an anteater and a chameleon.
They say the new species may be even more bizarre because it has claws that allow it to dig rather than climb trees and live in trees that look more like moles or moles.
The fossils were discovered by a team of researchers from Virginia Tech Park, the University of Washington, the University of Arizona, the University of Idaho and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. They published their findings earlier this month in the journal Paleontology of Vertebrates.
They found fossils in the summer of 2018 and 2019 using a screen washing technique.