Texas Tech Paleontologists Unearth New Species

Published 01/31 2014 05:20PM

Updated 01/31 2014 05:40PM

Texas Tech paleontologist are now proudly displaying their latest find: the remains of a new species, millions of years old.

"Machaeroprosopus Lottorum."

That, according to Bill Mueller, a curator of the paleontology division at the Texas Tech Museum, is the scientific name of the swamp roaming reptile Tech Paleontologists discovered.

They call the creature PaPa John for short.

Mueller said they found the ancient creature near Post.

"At that time this was quite different environmentally," said Mueller. "It was almost like a tropical forest. These skulls are about 210 million years old."

It took the paleontologist who unearthed "PaPa John," Doug Cunningham, a field research assistant at the museum, two years to fully prepare and they have 2 more in storage.

"These specimens are adults probably about 16 to 18 foot in length," said Mueller.

The Lottorum are the first and only species of their kind that have been found.

And Mueller said that's always a thrill finding something new.

"Oh it's always exciting. We find new stuff all the time which is really exciting. It's just like any other little kid. Finding something new is exciting."

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