Sunday, July 21, 2024
Homescience'Salamander from Hell': Giant Animal That Ruled Earth Before Dinosaurs Discovered |...

'Salamander from Hell': Giant Animal That Ruled Earth Before Dinosaurs Discovered | Science

Published on

Argentine paleontologist Claudia Marsicano said when she discovered the fossil she knew “it was something completely different” – Image: Reuters via BBC

Forty million years before the first dinosaurs appeared on Earth, a ferocious predator roamed the prehistoric swamps.

It reaches two metres in length, and its massive skull, more than half a metre long, contains a mouth with long, interlocking fangs that act like a suction cup to devour its prey.

about him Jayasia GenaiThe fossil, recently discovered in Namibia, was described by scientists in an article in the specialized journal Nature as a giant salamander with a flat, toilet-shaped head.

“This creature could be called the ‘salamander from hell,’” commented science journalist Paul Smaglic, in a Discover magazine article about the discovery.

The fossil is named after the Jay-S Formation in Namibia, where it was discovered, and after Jenny Clack, a paleontologist who specializes in the evolution of the first tetrapods: vertebrates evolved from fish and were the ancestors of amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

“We found this huge specimen lying like a giant frozen on a rock formation. It was really shocking,” said Claudia Marsicano of the University of Buenos Aires, one of the leaders of the research team.

“As soon as I looked at it I knew it was something completely different,” said the paleontologist. “We were all very excited.”

The quadrupedal head and jaw shape allows it to open its mouth and suck in its prey – Photograph: Gabriel Liu/Reuters via BBC

The team found several specimens, including one with a well-preserved skull and spine.

“After examining the skull, the frontal skeleton caught my attention. It was the only part visible at the time and showed very large and unusual interlocking canines, which led to a strange bite for an early tetrapod.”

“We have some really cool material, including a complete skull that we can use to compare to other animals from this time and understand what this animal looked like and what makes it unique.”

“The new, exceptionally large aquatic tetrapod provides important information about the tetrapods that inhabited the high latitudes of Gondwana,” Marsicano added, referring to the polar regions of the landmass in prehistoric times.

Although Namibia is today just north of South Africa, 300 million years ago it was much farther south, near the 60th parallel, roughly at the northernmost point of present-day Antarctica. At that time, the Earth was approaching the end of an ice age.

The swamps near the equator were drying up and becoming more forested. But near the poles, the swamps remained, perhaps alongside ice patches and glaciers.

In the hotter, drier regions of the world, animals have evolved into new forms.

The first four-legged vertebrates branched off, dividing into lineages that would one day become mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. But out in the outback, in places like present-day Namibia, the archaic forms persisted.

“It's really amazing. Jayasia “It was very old,” Pardo said. “It was related to organisms that probably went extinct 40 million years ago.”

Despite the strange traces of an earlier time, Jayacea seems to be doing well, perhaps as the apex predator in its ecosystem.

Latest articles

Saccani revealed what was the biggest mistake that Eike Batista made with oil.

If you are a financial market veteran, you surely remember Eike Batista, the businessman...

Portugal are European U17 Hockey Champions | Roller Hockey

Portugal became European Under-17 hockey champions for the 15th time on Saturday, beating Spain...

More like this