Saturday, March 31st, 2011
Area 51 – Lysorophus Site
Lysorophus: Permian (287 mya), burrowing, carnivorous amphibian. They would estivate to get away from the dry season and heat. At this site they are found varied in shape and size, curled up in half donut looking burrows. Lung fish and a jaw found (may be sillerpeton or Phlegethontia) in same area.
The first bone found at Area 51 was actually of a large amphibian called Eryops, a carnivore with primitive ear drums. A part of the neural spine approximately 2 inches long was lying completely exposed and visible on the east side of Area 51. I spotted the neural spine on my way to join Dr. Bakker after visiting an “Adventure Bush”. There is a saying that you never find a bone on your way to the bathroom, but always on the way back. Many other pieces of Eryops were also found near the neural spine. A bit further from Eryops remains appeared to be rocks scattered all over the hill. Each was full of fossilized skeletons of the little lysorophus. Tens of thousands of lysorophus have been preserved here! And are visible right at the surface too! There were more bones than rock at this site. In each rock you can clearly see verts and articulated ribs! Even a skull. Everywhere you stepped, every rock you picked up, bones! All spiraled in their burrows, frozen in time, waiting to wake up from the Permian drought 287 mya.
Now you probably ask why I named it Area 51. I did so because the name itself is mysterious. We never expected to find the world’s largest pocket of lysorophus. Even the little amphibians almost look alien like with so many together and short little arms and legs.