New Fossilized Reptile Species Discovered At Petrified National Park

Oct 15, 2020

Researchers studying fossils among a vast expanse of petrified wood in eastern Arizona say they've found a new species.

Illustrated depiction of Skybalonyx skapter
Credit Illustration: Midiaou Diallo

The tiny, burrowing reptile is part of a group known as drepanosaurs from the Triassic Period about 220 million years ago. It's name is Skybalonyx skapter. Researchers from the Petrified National Park and universities in Virginia, Washington, Idaho and Arizona published their findings earlier this month in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. They say the new species is stranger than its relatives because it has claws that allow it to burrow, rather than climb and live in trees.