Scientists discovered fossilized footprints from before dinosaurs existed

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Researchers have recently discovered evidence of an ancient enormous amphibian that lived more than 250 million years ago and predates the period of the dinosaurs. The new fossils were found at the Dave Green palaeosurface in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province. They were found in a rock surface and offer a wealth of information about an extinct animal that behaved strikingly like crocodiles today.

The proof is in the shape of fossilized footprints, which demonstrate that the enormous creature who left them formerly swam in a manner akin to modern-day crocodiles. However, according to a statement from experts, the crocodile did not arise until some 50 million years after the old gigantic amphibian did.

The rhinesuchid temnospondyls, of which we have previously discovered skeletal remnants, lived in the late Permian Period, according to a recent research on the discovery. These two-meter-long extinct gigantic amphibians resembled huge salamanders or crocodiles in shape.

In addition to swimming like a crocodile, the rhinesuchid temnospondyls also appeared to have searched through the water similarly. It appears that these ancient gigantic amphibians tucked their feet when swimming, even though the impressions revealed that they moved by swishing their tails side to side. Although these organisms aren't the planet's earliest known life, they nonetheless shed light on some of its early history.

A peer-reviewed publication with open access from the Public Library of Science called PLOS ONE now has the study on this finding online. The researchers emphasize that it is crucial to understand more about these extinct large amphibians since it closes some of the gaps in our knowledge of this time period.

It is not unexpected to find evidence of animals that lived before the dinosaurs as we know them. There are many traces of the time period still visible on Earth. Comparatively to subsequent times when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, this era has received less direct exposure. Therefore, having firsthand evidence of organisms that resemble those we subsequently observed is instructive in many ways.