Reptile

Armadillo-like Crocodile Fossil Found in Brazil

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 8, 2009   View Article

An ancient fossil crocodile coated in armadillo-like body armor was unveiled yesterday at an environmental museum in Brazil.

Dubbed Armadillosuchus arrudai, the newly described species of crocodile roamed the arid interior of Brazil about 90 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, scientists said.

Biggest Snake Discovered; Was Longer Than a Bus

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 4, 2009   View Article

The world’s biggest snake was a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through steamy tropical rain forests about 60 million years ago, says a new study that describes the ancient giant.

Fossils found in northeastern Colombia’s Cerrejon coal mine indicate the reptile, dubbed Titanoboa cerrejonesis, was at least 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2,500 pounds (1,135 kilograms).

Ancient Flying Reptiles Likely Had Sex As Youths

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 12, 2008   View Article

Pterosaurs, like their dinosaur relatives, didn’t wait until they were fully grown to have sex, a new study suggests.

Chameleons Say It With Color

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 26, 2005   View Article

Chameleons are famous for their ability to change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. But experts say camouflage is only half the story of the tropical lizard’s remarkable trait.

“Communication is also partly the function of coloration,” Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator of herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, wrote in an e-mail interview.

Early 4-Legged Animal Moved Like Inchworm, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 31, 2005   View Article

One of the first four-legged creatures that walked on land had an inchwormlike gait, a new study says.

The creature, known as Ichthyostega, lived in a floodplain environment on Greenland during the Devonian period, about 360 to 410 million years ago.

About three feet (one meter) long, Ichthyostega looked like a cross between a fish and a crocodile. Its four limbs allowed it to move, for short distances, on land.

In Crocodile Evolution, the Bite Came Before the Body

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 25, 2004   View Article

Today the crush of a crocodile’s mighty jaws signals lights-out for many a fish or other water-loving animal. But according to a new study, the croc’s characteristic jaws evolved on dry land—and long before its swim-tuned body.

The finding stems from the discovery of a well-preserved fossil of an ancestor of crocodilians in northwestern China. A crocodilian is any member of an order of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gavials, and related extinct forms.

Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 4, 2001   View Article

“Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!” The mere sight of a snake or spider strikes terror in the hearts of millions of people.

A new study suggests that such fear has been shaped by evolution, stretching back to a time when early mammals had to survive and breed in an environment dominated by reptiles, some of which were deadly.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach