Today's beastie is as-yet officially unnamed, but affectionately known as "Ribbo." Ribbo is another tetrapod from the fabled Romer's Gap, that mysterious epoch of prehistory that has an anomalous dearth of tetrapod fossils.
It's difficult to convey how weird that is.
Now, there are plenty of geological periods that aren't great for fossil preservation:
the global environment, the animals' fragile bodies, or geological
activity means that for every animal fossilised, there are *billions*
which were not. There are periods where there just isn't that much life
at all in one are or another. And there are periods, like the end of the
Permian, where some incredible catastrophe has wiped out huge amounts
of life. Romer's Gap is none of those: there is an abundance of other
lifeform fossils - fish, arthropods, plants, fungi, and more. For some
reason, tetrapods just seem to disappear for tens of millions of years,
only to return as if nothing happened. Only Scotland and, funnily
enough, Nova Scotia bear tetrapod remains from this period.
Ribbo is the first of at least six new species from Romer's Gap
discovered in Scotland since 2012. These species are particularly
important, as they offer insight as to how tetrapods made the journey
from aquatic & amphibious lifestyles to fully terrestrial ones.
Ribbo's name is a reference to its prominent & developed ribs -
strong evidence that it could breath efficiently enough to spend more
time on land than its predecessors.
LOOK AT ME
I'M WALKING OVER ROMER'S GAP! AAAAAHAHA AMMA PURE GENIUS"