In the Alps, found an ancestor of tyrannosaurs. And he shed light on the evolution of ancient dinosaurs

It is believed that the large dinosaurs appeared in the middle Jurassic period, about 180 million years ago, and before that in the ancient Land walking lizards much smaller. However, the recent discovery of paleontologists can radically change the understanding of this time period. Not so long ago on the territory of the Alps discovered the remains of an unknown ancient reptiles, who not only lived long before large dinosaurs, but the size does not inferior to them.

According to the editors of the journal PeerJ, a new lizard was named Saltriovenator zanellai and he dwelt in the territory of modern Italy approximately 200 million years ago. The discovery was made by a group of scientists headed by Angelo Zanella. 132 total found the bones of an ancient lizard. It is argued that the dinosaur age is around 24 years, which is quite a short time for the dinosaurs of similar sizes. Weight Saltriovenator zanellai, according to experts, is about 1.3 tons, but the increase of 3 meters. The dinosaur walked on four legs and the length of his torso also is 3 meters.

But on the paws there is more detail. The fact that the more ancient dinosaurs on the feet there are 5 toes. In the course of evolutionary change, one of them was lost. At the same time known to us the inhabitants of the middle Jurassic paws have 3 fingers. But found Saltriovenator zanellai the number of fingers is equal to 4, which suggests that it is a kind of intermediate link between the ancient dinosaurs and their modern descendants.

When the fingers of a dinosaur may shed light also on that point a particular finger lost inhabitants of the Jurassic period in the course of its evolution. In modern language, five-fingered lizards have lost the “pinkie”, and the relatives of Tyrannosaurus were already “nameless” finger. Previously it was thought that the second one lost a finger, most likely, is “big”.

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