Announced during last week’s National Fossil Day (More information – https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/index.htm) the discovery of fossil remains of a tiny burrowing reptile – something that looked like a cross between an anteater and a chameleon, and new to science – was a big media hit, appearing in local news affiliates, the Washington Post, and CNN.
The new species was named Skybalonyx skapter, a member of a group known as drepanosaurs. They lived during the Triassic Period, about 220 million years ago, during a time that predated larger dinosaurs, and when the plants that later became petrified wood once lived.
See full story at https://www.nps.gov/pefo/learn/news/new-fossils-discovered-at-petrified-forest-national-park.htm and the scientific article at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02724634.2020.1810058.
Learn More About Petrified Forest’s Paleontology
Paleontology – the branch of science that deals with fossil plants and animals – has a field day at Petrified Forest National Park! You can learn all about it in this great book, available in hardcover ($34.95) or quality paperback ($24.95) from the Petrified Forest Museum Association: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: The Late Triassic in the American Southwest.
The Age of Dinosaurs was a time of great reptiles that has captured the hearts and imaginations of people worldwide. But dinosaurs didn’t appear until late in the period known as the Triassic, and at that point in history, many other animals were bigger, fiercer, and odder. The day of the dinosaurs had a dawn, and the Late Triassic was it.
You’ll enjoy this update of the 1988 classic book with all new text, new science, and new, expanded illustrations. Dawn of the Dinosaurs explores this extraordinary period in the history of our planet — a time when the first dinosaurs walked and breathed, and the modern flora and fauna of our planet appeared.
This tour of the bones, stones, and landscapes that scientists study creates a vibrant picture of the lost world of the Chinle Formation of the American Southwest—one of the best records of this time period anywhere on Earth.
Read this book before your next visit to the park, and enjoy the wonder of Triassic life that is preserved in the beautiful Petrified Forest landscape.