Scientists discover dinosaur relative named 'Antarctic King' near South Pole


A team of palaeontologists has discovered the fossils of a dinosaur relative in a South Pole rock and they have named it the Antarctic King (Antarctanax shackletoni). Experts revealed that Antarctic King was a carnivorous reptile and it had roughly the size of an iguana.

The new discovery is expected to reshape the way in which life thrived in Antarctica during the ancient days. Several previous discoveries had suggested that Antarctica was not that icy as now during the ancient days and it had a warm environment blessed with plenty of flora and fauna.

Researchers believe that learning more about this reptile could help to shed light on the way in which creatures like these and crocodiles repopulated in the world after a mass die-off.

"This new animal was an archosaur, an early relative of crocodiles and dinosaurs. On its own, it just looks a little like a lizard, but evolutionarily, it's one of the first members of that big group. It tells us how dinosaurs and their closest relatives evolved and spread," said Brandon Peecook, a Field Museum researcher and the lead author of the study, Science Daily reports.

Even though the recently discovered fossil skeleton seems incomplete, experts successfully figured some basic characteristics of this creature. In the study, which was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, researchers revealed that this carnivorous animal fed bugs, early mammal relatives and amphibians for its survival.

Peecook also admitted that Antarctica is one such area on the earth which is not yet explored even partially. He also shared his hope of discovering more ancient Antarctican animals in the future.

In addition, Peecook said, "Antarctica is one of those places on Earth, like the bottom of the sea, where we're still in the very early stages of exploration. Antarctanax is our little part of discovering the history of Antarctica."