Six samples of salamanders have recently been discovered at the bottom of a dried-up lake in China and identified a group of paleontologists from the University of Beijing and the University of Chicago as the oldest specimens of all species Salamandroidea ever found on Earth. As the researchers said in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the age of fossil is approximately 157 million years.
Samples were named by researchers Beiyanerpeton jianpingensis, were found in Liaoning Province, in an area of the formation Tyaotszishanskogo (Tiaojishan Formation). A group of researchers reported that the animals probably looked like salamanders look today: a long body and tail, short legs. Adults reaching nearly four inches (10 centimeters more) in length. However, tapered tail and gills on the body of the animals of the special kind, as well as the discovery of the remains at the bottom of an ancient lake, indicates that the ancestors of modern salamanders most of his life spent in the water. The scientists also note that usually salamanders have a very unique look, which greatly facilitates their identification.
After a detailed study of the finds of the international research team suggested that salamanders appear to have different structure from other individuals of the same type earlier than usual, it was assumed. Possible to determine the age of the animal scientists that salamanders belong Jurassic, and consequently, they are much older than those of salamanders, which are still considered to be the most ancient. Age salamander fossil specimen discovered in Spain is 114 million years old. This makes B. jianpingensis most ancient representatives of the subspecies Salamandroidea, which are the ancestors of the 557 other species of salamanders that live today.
According to the researchers, the samples are very well preserved, allowing you to identify the skeleton and even the gills of animals. The reason for this was the volcanic ash that covered the bottom of a dried-up lake. They also noted that several other smaller samples salamanders were found in the same area, but it is not known whether they belong to the same species. In addition, the new models are significantly different in structure from the salamanders found a little earlier in Spain, meaning that they do not belong to the same family; B. jianpingensis described as more primitive animals.
In March of this year in the journal Nature published an article by a group of researchers with a detailed description of the ancient fleas, petrified fossils that have been discovered in Inner Mongolia. Bloch, according to scientists, lived on Earth 199-54 million years ago. Thus, the flea and salamander species Beiyanerpeton jianpingensis existed around the same time.