Published online 24 October 2007 | Nature 449, 961 (2007) | doi:10.1038/449961c

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Footprints reveal reptiles showing their age


A set of fossilized footprints found in the Grande Anse rock formation in New Brunswick, Canada, seems to nudge back the date of the earliest known reptiles. Previously, the oldest evidence of reptiles was fossil skeletons of Hylonomus lyelli found in Nova Scotia in 1859 and dated to about 315 million years ago. But a team led by Howard Falcon-Lang of the University of Bristol, UK, has found reptile footprints a kilometre lower in the rock strata, indicating that they are between 1 million and 3 million years older than the previous find (H. J. Falcon-Lang et al. J. Geol. Soc. 164, 1113–1118; 2007). 

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