Reptiles leave the longest trail in world history
Published 31/07/2010 | 05:00
RESEARCHERS have found proof that reptiles were the first vertebrates to conquer dry land, with the discovery of 318-million-year-old footprints.
The fossilised reptile prints were found in sea cliffs on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada, by Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London.
The discovery proves that reptiles were the first to make the continental interiors their home. Unlike their amphibian cousins, reptiles do not need to return to water to breed.
The study was undertaken with Professor Mike Benton, of the University of Bristol, and Canadian colleagues.
Prof Benton said: "At first, life was restricted to coastal swamps. However, when reptiles came on the scene they pushed back the frontiers, conquering the dry continental interiors."