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Fossils that were found in a quarry in the 20th century have recently been identified as a new species of reptile over 200 million years old.
Fossils that were found in a quarry in the 20th century have recently been identified as a new species of reptile over 200 million years old.

200 million year old species found in quarry

Fossilised remains discovered in an idle limestone pit in Wales nearly 70 years ago have recently been identified as a new species of ancient reptile.

Students at the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences identified the fossils, which were discovered in Pant-y-ffynnon Quarry near Cardiff in the 1950s, as a small species of reptile that lived 205 million years ago.

The reptile was named clevosaurus cambrica, a new species of the clevosaurus, Emily Keeble, the University of Bristol undergraduate student who completed the research, said.

"The new species, clevosaurus cambrica, lived side-by-side with a small dinosaur, pantydraco, and an early crocodile-like animal, terrestrisuchus,” Keeble said.

“We compared it with other examples of clevosaurus from locations around Bristol and South Gloucestershire, but our new beast is quite different in the arrangement of its teeth."

A 3D construction of the Clevosaurus cambrica was also compiled. Image courtesy: University of Bristol.
A 3D construction of the Clevosaurus cambrica was also compiled. Image courtesy: University of Bristol.

Keeble’s co-supervisor, Professor Mike Benton, added that Keeble was able to learn more about the reptile by reproducing a large amount of the clevosaurus cambrica’s skeleton.

“Emily was able to scan the blocks and make 3D reconstructions of the skull, neck, shoulder and arm region,” Benton added.

According to the University, the fossils came from fissures at the quarry that were filled with younger, red-coloured sediments.

“The limestone quarries of the region have many caves or fissures containing sediments filled with the bones of abundant small reptile species that give us a unique insight into the animals that scuttled at the feet of the dinosaurs,” a university statement read.

“The fissures are of worldwide importance in yielding such well preserved, small reptiles.”

Pant-y-ffynnon Quarry is located in the base of a mountain between two rivers. Throughout the 20th century, it was quarried for limestone and aggregate products.

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Monday, 21 May, 2018 03:32pm
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