Menu JTA Search

250,000,000-year-old Reptile Fossil Found in Israel

The petrified head of a reptile believed to be some 250,000,000 years old has been found in Wadi Ramon, in the Central Negev, the Israel Geological Institute revealed here today. The reptile is believed to have been some 30 inches long and 20 inches wide.

The Institute announcement said that this is one of the oldest animal remains ever found in the world and the first of its kind, which belongs in the genus “psephosaurus.” Since it is the first of its species found, the Institute will name it “psephosaurus negevensis” in honor of the site where it was unearthed. The specimen was found in stone strata of the Triassic period, which is the label given to a period extending back a quarter of a billion years.

The rump of the reptile was found over a year ago and was sent to Sweden’s Royal Geological Institute for restoration and was recently returned to Israel. The latest find was made by a team directed by Dr. F. Brotzen, a Swedish geologist assigned to Israel by the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration, and Prof. E. Haas of the Hebrew University.