A group of Brazilian researchers identified the fossil of a new species of prehistoric reptile that lived in southern Brazil about 237 million years ago, in the Triassic period, as the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) reported Tuesday.
Dubbed as Pagosvenator candelariensis, the new prehistoric reptile was identified from a fossil that corresponds to the skull and jaw, along with some neck vertebrae and bony plaques that resemble those of modern-day crocodiles.
The study, which has already been published in a scientific journal, was carried out by researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and the Federal University of Vale do Sao Francisco using various computerized tomography techniques that allowed the material to be examined without damaging it.
The specific geographic origin of the fossil is yet unknown since it was donated anonymously at the end of 2015 to the Aristides Carlos Rodrigues Municipal Museum in the Brazilian municipality of Candelária, in the Rio Grande do Sul, where it is currently exhibited.
Pagosvenator candelariensis is a medium-size new prehistoric reptile species
According to the leader of the research, Marcel Lacerda, the prehistoric reptile was a medium-sized animal, up to three meters long, and it is comparable with other similar four-legged reptile species.
Its long, curved teeth indicate that the reptile in question was carnivorous with a diet based on small and medium-sized animals, characteristics that place it in the group of archosaurs, specifically in the lineage that gave rise to the modern-day crocodiles.
“More specifically, the group in which the ‘Pagosvenator’ fits in is the so-called Erpetosuchidae about which, despite being known and studied a long time ago, since the 19th century, there is not much information about its anatomy and the kinship relationships between its representatives,” said Marco Franca, a professor of Paleontology at University of Vale do Sao Francisco and one of the participants at the discovery of the new species of prehistoric reptile.