Clevosaurus sectumsemper, an ancient reptile related to the modern-day tuatara of New Zealand, has now been described in the journal Proceedings of the Geologists’ Associtaion. Its species name is an homage to a spell cast by Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.
The fossils were found in two fissures in a quarry in Gloucestershire in Southwest UK. The new species comprised upward of 98 percent of all the fossils in the fissures, with other related reptiles and fishes comprising the remainder. Many excellent-quality fossils have been unearthed in the Gloucestershire limestone quarries including other species of Clevosaurus, whose name comes from the Latin word for Gloucester, “Clevum.”
During the Triassic, some 205 million years ago, the area around Gloucester was an island chain and very likely not an incredibly hospitable place. C. sectumsemper lived near the coasts of the islands. According to Phys.org, lead researcher Catherine Klein said that living in such a hostile environment might explain some of the conditions of the bones. Because almost all the bones come from one species and because there are many rib fractures, the reptiles were likely competing aggressively against each other for the few resources in their ecosystem. Many of them show signs of having healed from their injuries.