The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science says the discovery of a fossil in southern New Mexico rewrites the known evolutionary timeline.
Meet “Gordodon,” the approximately 300 million year old sail-backed reptile was discovered in 2013 near Alamogordo by Ethan Schuth.
Field crews from the museum collected the bones.
After years of research, the museum says the unique structure of Gordodon’s skull, jaws and teeth indicate it was a plant eater.
Previously, such specialized plant eating was not known in reptiles older than 200 million years.
“It turns out there was a lot more going on then we knew about and we’ve got a very specialized, a very advanced looking plant eater at a very early time in the evolution of herbivore,” said Dr. Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology.
Gordodon was approximately 5-feet long and weighed about 75 pounds.