An ancient ‘fish lizard’ that stalked the seas almost 250 million years ago developed unique pebble-like teeth to crush its hard-shelled prey, scientists say. The cartorhynchus lenticarpus belongs to an extinct group of reptiles known as ichthyosaurs, which translated from Greek means ‘fish lizard’. Little is known about these animals but experts now believe they may be “more closely related to crocodiles and dinosaurs and birds than they are to lizards and snakes”. Olivier Rieppel, a palaeontologist at the Field Museum in Chicago and one of the study authors, said: “By studying this early ichthyosaur’s unusual rounded teeth, we get a better understanding of how these animals evolved and what their lifestyles were like.” At just 1.5ft long, Cartorhynchus is one of the smallest ichthyosaur types discovered so far, and may have lived on land and in the sea, much like some modern day crocodiles. Sign up to get the Mirror’s biggest and best stories delivered straight to your inbox at www.mirror.co.uk/email. Fossil remains of Cartorhynchus found in Anhui province, China, in 2014 date from the early Triassic period, roughly 248 million years ago, making it the oldest known member of the ichthyosaur family. The fossils show the creature had… Read full this story
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