Stunning reconstruction of Jurassic salamander fossil reveals skull’s weirdness in 3D

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The 3D reconstruction of the skull trapped inside a rock, which belongs to the newfound species Mamorerpeton wakei.  (Image credit: Marc Jones)

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A bizarre, newly discovered species of ancient salamander recently received a digital makeover. Researchers used X-ray images to create a 3D model of the animal’s oddly shaped skull, which had been trapped inside a Jurassic rock first uncovered around 50 years ago.  

The newly identified species, which scientists named Mamorerpeton wakei, dates to around 166 million years ago, during the Jurassic period (201.3 million to 145 million years ago). Researchers estimated that these ancient salamanders grew to be around 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) long, and the shape and structure of their bones suggested they were an aquatic species that likely swam around ancient ponds or lakes, slurping up smaller creatures with powerful suction. 

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