In a recent remarkable finding that has captivated the scientific community, researchers have discovered a new species of ancient reptile in Brazil. The fossil of the species, which is believed to have lived in the Jurassic period, is estimated to be 231-million-year-old and is the oldest of its kind found anywhere in the world. This discovery, which is reported in the journal Nature Communications, is a significant milestone in understanding the evolution of turtles and is expected to generate greater understandings into the evolution of the group.

Who Discovered the Ancient Reptile?

he research team that made the incredible discovery comprises specialists from the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM) and the Paleontological Museum at UFSM, in Brazil. The team is led by Dr. Max Cisneros, a paleontologist associated with UFSM, who has conducted extensive research on the evolution of reptiles and Jurassic-era fossils.

What Species Has Been Discovered? 

The prehistoric reptile is a stem-tortoise, known as Santacruzemys bahiae. It is an important species, being the oldest known stem-tortoise, and is a new addition to the Santacruzensis family of reptiles. It is estimated to have lived in what is known today as Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil.

Where Was the New Species Found? 

The fossil of Santacruzemys bahiae was found in a mountainous region close to the city of Santa Cruz do Sul in the western edge of said Rio Grande do Sul. Discovered in a geological formation known as the Santa Cruz Formation, the fossil was intact and was an important discovery for the researchers given the rarity of fossils belonging to ancient reptiles.

Fossil Analysis 

To properly examine the fossil, the team of researchers then went on to analyze and date it. During the process, they identified anatomical features which allowed them to understand the evolutionary history of turtles. They used a variety of techniques, including high-resolution scanning, images obtained through computed tomography, and 3D modeling.

The Effects of the Discovery of the New Species 

The discovery of Santacruzemys bahiae has important implications for the understanding of turtle evolution. The fossil indicates that turtles have a much older lineage than previously presumed. Furthermore, this new species also reveals that stem-tortoises were present in South America during Jurassic period.

The discovery of a prehistoric reptile species in Brazil is a significant find for scientists who want to understand evolutionary patterns and wildlife development. This new species is not only considered to be one of the oldest known stem-tortoises, it is also the oldest known reptile in South America and one of the most ancient ever discovered anywhere. This remarkable discovery provides clear evidence that turtles have an ancient lineage and should be appreciated for the rich part they play in evolution.