THE BONES of a long-extinct amphibious creature have been discovered in County Clare.
The discovery of the 325-million-year-old bones was made in April of this year by geologist Dr Eamon Doyle and researcher Mr Aodhán Ó Gogáin, and the details have been published in the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences.
The tiny 10mm bones, believed to be a limb and a piece of hip from a tetrapod, is the oldest skeletal fossil of its type to ever be discovered in Ireland. It were found along a storm beach on the Co Clare coast, and it is believed the creature may have washed up on the shore during the Carboniferous era before fossilising.
The discovery will assist researchers in their investigation into evolution: not only is the amphibious creature the ancestor of the modern lizard but dinosaurs as well-- they came along about 100 million years after the discovered tetrapod.
A series of similar discoveries have been made in Scotland in recent years, slowly closing what is known as the 'Romer Gap'-- a gap of about 15 million years where very little is known about the creatures who lived at the time.
Clare County Council made reference to this, saying in a statement: "The fact that amphibian bones are rare finds in rocks of this age highlights the importance of Dr Doyle's discovery".