Scientists from Poland made an amazing discovery recently. They found the remains of a huge creature which appeared to live on our planet more than 200 million years ago. The giant was an herbivore, and according to researchers, it lived during the late Triassic period.
The findings were published in the Science journal, on Thursday. According to the Polish researchers, the discovery proves that dinosaurs weren’t the only massive herbivores that existed at that time.
The creature has been named Lisowicia bojani after the southern Polish village where its remains have been found. It appears that this herbivore is related to mammals since it belongs to the same evolutionary branch as them. “Large dicynodonts have been known before in both the Permian and the Triassic, but never at this scale,” declared Christian Kammerer, a dicynodont specialist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
The creature had the size of an elephant and researchers found more similar fossils (of dicynodonts) in other places, although those belong to an earlier period. It appears that this creature lived at the same time as sauropods, giant dinosaurs with long necks. This led researchers to believe that the Triassic period led to the evolution of gigantism.
“We used to think that after the end-Permian extinction, mammals and their relatives retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up and grew to huge sizes,” said Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, a paleontologist at Uppsala University in Sweden and co-author of the paper.
However, despite the fact that dinosaurs and dicynodonts lived at the same time, this does not mean that they lived in the same habitats. “Overall I think this is a very intriguing and important paper and shows us that there is a still a lot left to learn about early mammal relatives in the Triassic,” concluded Kammerer.
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