Within a limestone cave system in Richards Spur, Oklahoma, paleontologists uncovered several detailed casts of the skin of an ancient animal. The skin resembles a crocodile hide's pattern and texture, with its detail so well-preserved that individual scales pop along the various casts. The skin may belong to one animal or several different species.
They are the oldest example of an outer layer of skin for animals found in terrestrial areas, like reptiles, birds, and mammals. A cast of this skin type may help researchers understand the evolutionary transition from life in the water to life on land during the Carboniferous Period when reptiles emerged. Findings were published in Current Biology.