Atopodentatus was a hammerheaded herbivore, new fossil find shows!
Amazing Creature from the time of the dinasaurs. Fascinating the diversity of life forms that inhabited our oceans. This is a very interesting article from Nicola Davis for The guardian
Find changes previous view of Atopodentatus unicus, revealing the 244-million-year-old creature to be the earliest known plant-eating marine reptile
A reconstruction showing what Atopodentatus unicus would have looked like in life Photograph: Y. Chen, Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology
An ancient creature with a skull the shape of a vacuum attachment could have been one of the first plant-eating marine reptiles, researchers say.
Dug up in Luoping County in the Yunnan province of China, the newly discovered fossils of the sea-dwelling creature Atopodentatus unicus, thought to have lived around 244 million years ago,suggest it had a hammerhead skull, with two very different sets of teeth that allowed it to feed on underwater plant matter.
The findings overthrow previous conclusions drawn from the first Atopodentatus fossil reported in 2014 that suggested the creature, thought to be between 2.5 and three metres in length, had a drooping snout with a vertical, zipper-like arrangement of teeth. This peculiar feature, the researchers had concluded, was used rather like a flamingos beak to rummage around the seabed for invertebrates to eat.