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The Lizard That Use to Walk on Water
International, 7/17/2015

Modern relatives of the lizards 'Jesus Christ', of the family of corytophanidae (Corytophanidae), are in the area that goes from central Mexico to northern Colombia, where they enjoy the tropical temperatures. The new fossil found in Wyoming, northern United States and called Babibasiliscusalxi, could represent the first member of this group of reptiles, including iguanas and chameleons.

Jack Conrad, a researcher in the department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, declared in PLoS ONE that the main feature of the new species of lizard was walking on water. "Although we have no direct evidence that this animal was actually able to run on the water surface, it could have had that ability, belonging to the family of the corytophanidae," says Conrad.

The group of 'Jesus Christ' lizards includes Basiliscus genres which are the best walkers on water- and Laemantus, that walk too "but not so well," says the expert adding that the new fossil is a taxon 'brother' of the latter.

According to the researcher, a Babibasiliscusalxi lizard rugged to tropical environments was the oldest member of the family of these lizards, and shows that this group of reptiles appeared earlier than previously thought.

In terms of physical characteristics, Conrad stresses that this was a very tough reptile. Proof of this is the broken jaw suffered by the one found and cured throughout his life.

Moreover, the skull found was strongly built, "suggesting that they may have been able to take advantage of a wide variety of foods," says the scientist. The fossil shows small teeth that allowed him to eat snakes, other lizards, fish, insects and plants, as its modern relatives do at present.


Topic(s):    Biodiversity