Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Lazarus Taxon....

Occasionally species turn up in the fossil record, or in deed alive - think Coelocanth - that simply shouldn't be there, that should have died out like the rest of their kin thousands or millions of years before their time. It is generally supposed that the end came for Dicynodonts in the Norian era of the Triassic, some 210 - 225 mya. In 1915, however, some fossil bone fragments were unearthed in Early Cretaceous rocks of N. Queensland, Australia which may indicate this was not the case. The most significant of these finds was was a piece of upper jaw bearing the stump of a tusk ( see below) identical to that of a Dicynodont. In 2003 the finds were reappraised by Dr. Tony Thulborn and Dr. Susan Turner from Monash University in Melbourne and declared to be definitely from a Dicynodont, but some 105 million years younger than it's nearest known contemporary. My reconstruction must be viewed as highly speculative with so little information to go on, but should reflect most of the salient features of the beast - probably. As far as I know it is still un-named and goes by the enigmatic label QMF.15.990. It would have been about 2m long.

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