In the caves of a hilly Oklahoma ghost town, researchers have found what may be the first evidence of preserved insect remains in the mouths of fossilized vertebrates. The find is compelling evidence that early reptiles, the equivalent of modern-day lizards, fed on insects.
Sean Modesto, a biologist at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and his colleagues found pieces of arthropod skeleton on the teeth inside two 280-million-year-old skulls of a species of reptile they have yet to fully describe. They report the discovery in the journal Biology Letters1.
One skull contained a cuticle with five segments that seemed to be part of an antenna, and the other had a long cuticle fragment that was narrow at one end and broader at the tip. This could have been part of a rear appendage.