World's Oldest Lizard Fossil Found—What You Need to Know
Found in the Italian Alps 20 years ago, the newly studied fossil is being hailed by scientists as the "mother of all lizards."
Scientists may now have a better understanding of what the world's first lizards looked like.
A newly studied fossil specimen is being hailed by researchers as the “mother of all lizards” because it's thought to be an early species from which all of today's squamates—lizards and snakes—eventually evolved. Dubbed Megachirella wachtleri, the fossil creature dates back 240 million years, according to a study describing it this week in the journal Nature.
The Magechirella fossil was found in the Italian Alps 20 years ago. At the time, scientists thought it might be related to squamates, but they didn't have enough evidence to formally describe it as a direct ancestor. Megachirella's detailed features weren't completely discernible, and scientists didn't have a comprehensive understanding