Giant salamander-like fossil found in Namibia

A team of scientists has discovered an apex predator with a two-foot skull dominated by giant canines that lurked in freshwater long before the dinosaurs.

A study published Wednesday Nature Names the genus Caysia jennae – A salamander-like tetrapod, or four-legged vertebrate, that lived in what is now Namibia. Its eight-foot body was the largest tetrapod ever seen with digits, and it had a broad, flat, diamond-shaped head and enlarged, interlocking canines, the authors wrote. Fossils suggest that it was a suction feeder that had a powerful bite to catch large prey.

Jason D., co-leader of the study at the Negaunee Integrated Research Center at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Barto said, “It has these huge canines, giant teeth across the front of the mouth. Report.

Claudia A. of the University of Buenos Aires and Bardo. The research team, led by Marsicano, described it as a “new, exceptionally large, aquatic tetrapod” that “provides important information about the tetrapods that inhabited the high latitudes of Gondwana,” the polar regions of the prehistoric southern landmass.

Anthony Romilio, a paleontologist at the Dinosaur Laboratory at the University of Queensland in Australia who was not involved in the study, wrote in an email that it was a “fascinating discovery” that “challenges the belief that the earliest land animals (tetrapods) are found in coal-producing wetlands often near the equator.”

Caasia occurred further south than its closest relatives that lived in what is now North America and Europe,” he said. “The discovery in the cold, southern high-latitude regions of the ancient supercontinent indicates that early tetrapods were more widespread and adaptable. to a different climate than previously thought.”

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Christian A. Sidor, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Washington, was not part of the research team. wrote In nature, the discovery helped “fill a gap in the fossil record” because it was found “in a place and time that no paleontologist would have expected.”

This creature lived about 280 million years ago Permian period, a single continent, Pangea – and the period that preceded the first dinosaurs by about 40 million years. It was Time of other predators such as DimetrodonA carnivore with a sail on its back, and HelicaprianA shark-like fish has spiral teeth.

Caysia jennae Even in its time it was an “archaic” species, Burdo said, and about 40 million years after most of its relatives died out, at the end of an ice age, new animal lineages emerged.

It is named for the Guy-As Formation in Namibia, where the fossils were found, and in honor of paleontologist Jenny Clack, who died in 2020. Scientists pieced together information about the organism from four samples.

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