The oldest skin fossil in the world dates back to

The oldest skin fossil in the world dates back to before the emergence of dinosaurs – Maxisciences

Published on January 12, 2024 at 4:00 am by Aurélia ABISUR

Spoiler alert, this is not human skin.

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Get out your calendar and calculator! What paleontologists have recently discovered is sure to take you back to the distant, distant past. According to a study, the oldest skin fossil discovered to date is 45 million years older than the first dinosaurs. But what was it about?

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Old skin

It's during the Triassic that the first dinosaurs appeared on Earth about 230 million years ago. They represented a diverse population and dominated our planet until their extinction 66 million years ago. But life existed on Earth long before them. The evidence is that researchers have recovered a skin fossil believed to be the oldest in the world. It dates back to around that time 275 million yearsi.e. 45 million years before the appearance of the famous “big lizards”.

The researchers said it was a reptile skin, without specifying the animal. This skin, at the crossroads of a crocodile, a snake and a lizard, was found in a limestone cave in Oklahoma, USA. Of molts were also recovered. This find from the Paleozoic era is extremely rare. On the one hand, because the skin (skin, nails, hair) is very sensitive to the passage of time, and on the other hand, geological activity is simultaneously responsible for the disappearance of traces of the past.

Unhappy lizard

In all likelihood, the animal fell into the cave and never escaped. THE low oxygen levels associated with the presence of clayey sediments And mineral oils have made it possible to achieve this excellent level of conservation. But don't imagine big things! The skin is barely the size of a fingernail.

Discoveries of this kind greatly enrich our overall knowledge of these animals that have lived on Earth since ancient times.

By examining the fossil, paleontologists determined that the scales were skin flakes; a trait she believes was quite common at the time. Nowadays it only affects a few amphibians and reptiles.

The cave where this skin fossil was recovered is known to have preserved a significant number of Paleozoic era fossils.

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