Scientists have found ancient animal the size of an elephant

Scientists have found ancient animal the size of an elephant

It lived in Europe during the time of the first dinosaurs.


A group of scientists from Poland and Sweden have discovered the bones of an ancient relative of mammals, which had the appearance of a rhinoceros, the beak of a turtle and weighed about 9 tons, the African elephant.

Ancient mammal cousin looked like a cross between a rhino and a turtle | Science | AAAS

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Animal belongs to the dicynodonts and was named Lisowicia bojani. It was discovered in the village of Lisowice 100 km South from kraków. The creature lived during the Triassic period, which began 252 million years ago and ended 201 million years ago.

Until now it was thought that during the Triassic the only giant animals in Europe were dinosaurs.

“Who would have thought that next to some of the first dinosaurs lived giant ancestors of mammals the size of an elephant?” — surprised Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist from the University of Edinburgh.

The dicynodonts were the first vertebrate animals that feed on plants. Their name means “two dog teeth”. For most of these creatures were characterized by the disappearance of all the teeth except the two upper canines. The dicynodonts had Horny beak, as in turtles. Some species had spines on the skull, similar to the short horns.