Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By South African Scientists

Date:
March 11, 1999
Source:
University Of The Witwatersrand
Summary:
Discovery of a new species of fossil animal 260 million years old, which reinforces South Africa as the place of origin of all mammals, has been announced by scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand.

JOHANNESBURG, March 11, 1999 -- Discovery of a new species of fossil animal 260 million years old, which reinforces South Africa as the place of origin of all mammals, will be announced today by scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Professor Bruce Rubidge, Director of the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at Wits, and visiting Canadian researcher Dr Sean Modesto, headed a team that found the important fossil skull near Williston in the Northern Cape. The discovery itself was made by Mr John Nyaphuli of the National Museum in Bloemfontein, a long-standing colleague of Professor Rubidge who has been working with him on field trips for many years. The other member of the team that made the find was Dr Johann Welman, also of the National Museum.

The fossil is the skull of a sheep-sized animal that is the most primitive member yet found of a group of plant-eaters on the evolutionary line to mammals. Called Anomodonts (an-om-o-donts), they were the dominant land creatures during the Permian period more than 250 million years ago, long before even the dinosaurs had appeared on Earth.

Professor Rubidge, Dr Modesto and Dr Welman have called the new species Anomocephalus africanus (an-om-o-keff-a-luss af-rik-a-nuss), which literally means "Lawless-headed one of Africa". This refers to the fact that characteristics with the Anomodont group are not uniform throughout all its members.

The specimen has been described in the February 22 issue of the prestige publication Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Britain’s oldest scientific journal.

Said Professor Rubidge: "Before this discovery, it was thought that Anomodonts and other creatures with the group known as therapsids, or mammal-like reptiles, orginated in Russia. Anatomical data from our new find has allowed us to re-evalutate the family relationships of the Anomodonts, and show that the South African portion of what was the prehistoric supercontinent Gondwana, was actually an evolutionary hotspot 260 million years ago. It has reinforced the idea that the distant ancestors of mammals acutally came from South Africa."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of The Witwatersrand. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of The Witwatersrand. "Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By South African Scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990311060304.htm>.
University Of The Witwatersrand. (1999, March 11). Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By South African Scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990311060304.htm
University Of The Witwatersrand. "Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By South African Scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990311060304.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say a ship remnant discovered underneath Ground Zero dates back to the 18th century. Why it sank is still uncertain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about 650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins