ST. JOHN, New Brunswick, July 30 (UPI) — A British scientist has found 318 million-year-old footprints in Canada he says are the oldest evidence of reptiles to date.
Howard Falcon-Lang of the Royal Holloway, University of London, discovered the tracks by accident when he slipped while climbing the steep sea cliffs along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, LiveScience.com reported Friday.
“I landed on the ancient boulder and looked up and there were the trackways on the boulder next to me and I still have the scars to prove it,” Falcon-Lang said.
The size of the tracks suggests the animal was about the size of a gecko, about 8 inches long.
The prints show the animal had five slender toes on each of its feet, which is a hallmark of reptiles, Falcon-Lang said.
Amphibians sport four stubby toes, he said.
Study of surrounding sediments showed the reptiles were likely living around a contracting water hole.
“We think it was like the (Australian) Outback today with watering holes on a dry landscape,” Falcon-Lang said.
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