DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mesosaurus (middle lizard) is one of the first reptiles to return to an aquatic lifestyle, after the advent of the first tetrapods at the end of the Devonian period. Its legs are clearly better suited for moving in water than on land. Mesosaurus had a lengthy skull with long jaws that were set with sharp, protruding teeth with which it fed on fish and other small aquatic fauna. As an early aquatic reptile it probably had to return onshore to lay its eggs. On land it probably pushed ahead with its legs rather than lift its body to actually walk. Its length was approximately 1 meter. Fossils have been found in early Permian sediments both in South America and Southern Africa, a fact that substantiates the theory that these two continents formed one continental landmass at that time, prior to drifting apart later on. This specimen is from Ceara, Brazil and actual length is 55 cm.
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