Washington, July 2 (IANS) In what may provide insights into how climate change may affect tropical species, scientists have discovered a 48-million-year-old fossil, known as a “Jesus lizard”, that could walk on water.
The fossil, recovered from the Bridger Formation in Wyoming, is the first description of a new species, called Babibasiliscus alxi.
“Given our current period of global climate fluctuation, looking to the fossil record offers an important opportunity to observe what is possible and may give us an idea of what to expect from our dynamic Earth,” said Jack Conrad from American Museum of Natural History.
Modern relatives of the Jesus lizard live in an area stretching from central Mexico to northern Colombia, flourishing in the higher temperatures.
This group, which includes iguanas and chameleons, remains poorly understood, due to the small number of fossils available for study.
Babibasilscus alxi was likely active during the day and spent a lot of time in trees.
A ridge of bone on the skull gave it an angry look while providing shade for its eyes, and each small tooth had three points for eating snakes, lizards, fish, insects and plants.
But with a large cheekbone, the lizard may have enjoyed larger prey items as well.
The study was outlined in the journal Plos One.