Researchers discover 250-million-year-old fossil, name it "Antarctic King"

The reptile is said to feast on frogs, insects, and early mammals.

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A newly discovered reptile fossils are giving new insights into what would it be like for the "Antarctic King." The new species is dubbed Antarctanax shackletoni where the first name means Antarctic King, while the second name pays homage to Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, reports CNN.

 
Researchers find 250-million-year-old fossil, name it

Although the skeleton is yet to be completed, researchers think it is closely related to the archosaurs due to the similarities between the two. It has been theorized that the new reptile was a meat-eater ate early mammals, insects, and frogs.

"This new animal was an archosaur, an early relative of crocodiles and dinosaurs," said Brandon Peecook, lead study author and Field Museum researcher. "On its own, it just looks a little like a lizard, but evolutionarily, it's one of the first members of that big group. It tells us how dinosaurs and their closest relatives evolved and spread."

It is also believed that Antarctica was a green land, some 250 years ago. The place had forests and rivers, and the temperature rarely went below freezing point.

"The more we find out about prehistoric Antarctica, the weirder it is," Peecook said. "We thought that Antarctic animals would be similar to the ones that were living in southern Africa since those landmasses were joined back then. But we're finding that Antarctica's wildlife is surprisingly unique."

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