It’s a long-held belief that only dinosaurs were the herbivores in the past, but scientists have just discovered a new kind of animal that might challenge this notion.
They found the remains of a plant-eating animal that had a beak-like mouth and reptilian characteristics. It lived in the late Triassic period, which is over 200 million years ago. This discovery has been reported in a paper published on 22 November by the journal Science.
The researchers are from Poland and the claim that a village in southern Poland hides the remains of a creature called Lisowicia Bojaniafter, which was the same size as elephants are today. It seems that this animal was on the same evolutionary branch as mammals.
Triggering The Evolution of Gigantism
Similar fossils from these animals were found earlier in a different site, but they were dated to a much earlier period before these animals were wiped out by a series of natural disasters. The co-author of the paper and a paleontologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, stated:
“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.”
The environmental factors at the ending of the Triassic period might have helped with the evolution of gigantism, considering researchers now have proof that these giant dicynodonts lived in the same timeframe as sauropods.
According to a dicynodont specialist who was not involved in this study, Christian Kammerer (Christian Kammerer), the size of the Lisowicia discovered in Poland was unbelievable:
“Large dicynodonts have been known before in both the Permian and the Triassic, but never at this scale. However, 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.”
He concluded that both dicynodonts and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, but there is no proof that they shared the same habitats.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.