“Bharitalasuchus tapani”- A carnivorous reptile, lived 240 million years ago

What is the News?

Researchers from the Indian Statistical Institute had carried out extensive studies on rocks of the Yerrapalli Formation in Telangana during the mid 20th Century. During that time, they uncovered several fossils. By studying some of these fossils, the team has now provided information on one of the reptiles(Bharitalasuchus tapani).

What information they have provided on the Bharitalasuchus tapani?

Bharitalasuchus tapani

  • The reptile has been named Bharitalasuchus tapani. It is a carnivorous reptile that lived 240 million years ago.
    • In the Telugu language, Bhari means huge, Tala means head, and Suchus is the name of the Egyptian crocodile-headed deity.
  • Named after: The reptile has been named after palaeontologist Tapan Roy Chowdhury. For his contribution to Indian vertebrate palaeontology, and especially his extensive work at Yerrapalli Formation.
  • Genus: The reptile belonged to a family of extinct reptiles named Erythrosuchidae.
  • Key Features:
    • Bharitalasuchus Tapani were robust animals with big heads and large teeth, and these probably predated other smaller reptiles.
    • They were approximately the size of an adult male lion and might have been the largest predators in their ecosystems.

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About Erythrosuchidae:
  • Erythrosuchidae (meaning red crocodiles) are a family of large basal archosauriform carnivores. They lived from the later Early Triassic to the early Middle Triassic.
    • The Triassic is a geologic period and system which spans 50.6 million years from the end of the Permian Period to the beginning of the Jurassic Period. It is the first and shortest period of the Mesozoic Era.
  • The first Erythrosuchidae remains were discovered in South Africa in 1905 and more were found in China and Russia.
    • The South African one is about 245 million years old, while the ones from China and Russia are around 240 million years old.
About Yerrapalli Formation:
  • Yerrapalli Formation is located primarily in the Pranhita–Godavari Basin in Telangana.
  • It is a Triassic rock formation consisting primarily of red mudstones. The area preserves fossils of freshwater and terrestrial vertebrates, as well as trace fossils of invertebrates.

Source: The Hindu

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