The creature dates back to 260 million years ago and stood upright on all four legs like a cow or hippo.
Around 260 million years ago, most of the animals were “sprawlers.” Their limbs were extended out from the side of their bodies and they used their spines to push themselves ahead just like reptiles today.
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Scientists have recently discovered a weird pre-reptile called Bunostegos that walked upright on all four legs like a cow or hippo. That makes it the oldest known creature to walk in this manner.
“A lot of animals that lived around the time had a similar upright or semi upright hind limb posture, but what’s interesting and special about Bunostegos is the forelimb, in that it’s anatomy is sprawling precluding and seemingly directed underneath its body – unlike anything else at the time, said lead author of the study, Morgan Turner. “The elements and features within the forelimb bones won’t allow a sprawling posture. This is unique.”
Researches from Brown University examined the fossil bones of the creature which were unearthed in the region of Niger between 2003 to 2006. Bunosegos akokanensis was about the same size as the cow and stood with the legs entirely beneath the body.
Researchers have found the missing thing in this pre-reptile is the twist. No twist suggests their limbs were aligned under the body. Unlike sprawlers, their limbs were pointing downward instead of sideways. Because Bunostegos lacked the twist, their mobility was also limited.
Bunostegos could only swing their limbs in a back and forth direction just like human knees can do. Researchers suppose this kind of posture was necessary for the survival of that pareiasaur and they were not surprised if some other animals also found to have similar posture.
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“Posture from sprawling to upright, is not black or white, but instead is a gradient of forms,” said Turner. “There are many complexities about the evolution of the posture and locomotion we are working to better understand every day. The anatomy of Bunostegos is unexpected, illuminating and tells us we still have much to learn.”