Episode 26 – Colobops: the tiny reptile with a big bite!
Big bites come in small skulls
This episode tells a story of one of Adam Pritchard’s favorite projects from Yale University, describing the skull of a teeny reptile from the early days of the Age of Reptiles. Hailing from the eastern coast of North America (present-day Connecticut), Colobops noviportensis had a skull only an inch long. However, intensive research and three-dimensional modeling revealed that it possessed cavities for its jaw muscles larger than any other reptile of that size—living OR extinct! Colobops likely nipped at the heels of some of the earliest dinosaurs and crocodile cousins in North America.
The original paper can be read for free in the journal Nature Communications! Adam’s co-author Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, professor of Geology at Yale University, helped produce a great video on the discovery with Yale University’s press office.
The brilliant reconstruction of Colobops was hand painted by paleoartist and Geology Ph.D. student at Yale Michael Z. Hanson. Mike will be appearing in an upcoming episode of Past Time on the early days of bird evolution.
If you want to see the original Colobops specimen, travel to the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut!