BEACON TRANSCRIPT – An old adage says that one man’s misfortune is another one’s misfortune is another man’s treasure. This seems to confirm the latest discovery made by a team of paleontologists in Myanmar. Several amber slides provide insight into lizard evolution, a process previously obscured by the lack of evidence.
Recently, a team of scientists from the University of Texas has stumbled on something that could very way change the evolutionary timeline. Studying a dozen amber slides brought from a dig site in Myanmar, the paleontologists discovered the perfectly preserved remain of several species of lizards.
The 12 amber slides are in perfect condition according to the team of scientists, and their contents are indeed surprising. As we know from the biology courses, amber in comparison with mineral sediments is a far better preservation environment. Unlike stones, which can only preserve some skeletal remains, amber can virtually keep every organ in the body.
This fact is confirmed by the discovery of yet another creature. A shrimp-like animal was discovered not long ago, by a North American team of scientists. Apart from the outline of its body, the researchers also found a perfectly preserved nervous system. According to their statement, were not for the amber, we wouldn’t have found out about this creature’s autonomic reactions.
Same thing goes for the unfortunate lizards who got trapped in the amber prison. Unfortunately, even though the amber preservation chamber lived up to its expectation, it could only preserve parts of the reptiles.
For example, in one slide, the scientists have found the leg of a reptile, and in another just the tip of a tongue. Other amber deposits contained a couple of scales while another deposit contained the creature’s skeleton.
The researcher figured out that one of the remains belonged to a gecko-like lizard because one of the amber pieces held the lizard’s iconic toe pads.
And probably one of the most interesting part owned by the team is the one containing the skeletal remains of an infant lizard which measure less than a centimeter.
The team managed to figure out all of this details, by subjecting each piece of amber to a CT scan. 3D modelling and reconstruction showed them what the lizard looked like before it got caught in the amber prison.
Juan Daza, one of the study’s co-author, who is also a herpetologist declared that this discovery is just amazing because we can now see how modern lizards like geckoes evolved over time.
99-million-year old amber slides provide insight into lizard evolution, from infancy to maturity.