In DepthPaleontology

Giant mammal cousin rivaled early dinosaurs

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Science  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6417, pp. 879
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6417.879

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Summary

Imagine if you crossed a rhino with a giant turtle and then supersized the result: You might get something like Lisowicia bojani, a newly discovered Triassic mammal cousin that had a body shaped like a rhinoceros, a beak like a turtle, and weighed as much as an African elephant, about 9 tons. Paleontologists say this startling creature offers a new view of the dawn of the age of the dinosaurs. Researchers had thought that during the late Triassic, from about 240 million until 201 million years ago, early mammals and their relatives retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up, growing to huge sizes. The new find means the story wasn't quite so simple, suggesting the same evolutionary forces that favored giant dinosaurs were at work on other creatures as well.