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Long before the dinosaurs, a giant salamander with sharp fangs haunted the planet’s swamps.



Forty million years before the dinosaurs appeared, another “terrifying creature” haunted our planet and had nothing to envy from T-rexes and other velociraptors, tell CNN.

This aquatic tetrapod, similar to a kind of giant salamander, “somewhere between fish and amphibian”was “considerably larger than a human being”reaching at least 10 feet (3 meters) long, notes Jason Pardo, a researcher at the Chicago Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study on the creature – dubbed Gaiasia jennyae – published this week in Nature.

“Gaiasia’s broad, flat skull looked like two huge plates placed on top of each other.”describes Mr. Pardo. “When the creature opened its mouth, a natural suction would occur, attracting fish, sharks or any other prey moving nearby.”.

Inside his mouth, “fangs measuring nearly 8 centimeters long” allowed to Gaiasia of “pierce one’s prey” and D’“swallow your meals in one bite”continues the researcher.

“So far, paleontologists have discovered a well-preserved skull and spine, incomplete skulls, vertebrae and pieces of jaw, after conducting two seasons of field work.”observe CNN. “The largest skull is over 60 centimeters long”.

“The main predator of its ecosystem”

For Claudia Marsicano, a researcher at the University of Buenos Aires and co-lead author of the study, the discovery of the Namibian fossil was “overwhelming”. “I knew just by seeing it that it was something completely different.”she says.

In fact, the fossils found “tell the story of a creature that defies all expectations, compared to the evolutionary paths of more well-known animals of the time, most of which lived closer to the equator”explains the American channel.

One of the reasons why Gaiasia What is so surprising to researchers is its size and its dominance in the marshes of the South Pole, where it evolved.

“300 million years ago there were other more archaic animals, but they were rare and small.”Mr. Pardo emphasizes. Gaiasia is large and abundant, and appears to be the main predator in its ecosystem.”

Its discovery further provides “evidence that continental tetrapods were well established in cold temperate latitudes” And “testifies to a more global distribution of continental tetrapods” during the Permian period, the researchers note.

Gaiasia jennyae is believed to have disappeared around 268 million years ago, for reasons still unknown to scientists.

Unknown element
Unknown element

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