Photo: Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki
Polish paleontologists have discovered fossils of big herbivorous animal that lived in the late Triassic period (about 200 million years ago), but were not dinosaurs. Causes of gigantism in the body, which coexisted with sauropods, remain unknown. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
According to the researchers, the animal, whose size is comparable to the elephant, is the ancestor of the mammals, but has traits of reptiles. The creature was named lisowice (Lisowicia bojani) in honor of the village near the excavation site. It is one of the dicynodonts, which are synapsids, i.e. belong to the same group of animals, and mammals. Due to the inherent traits of these animals mammals sometimes called mammal-like reptiles (zoroastre).
It is believed that after the Permian extinction large the ancestors of mammals were extinct, and their ecological niches occupied by the dinosaurs, which were characterized by gigantism. Opening Lisowicia bojani indicates that at the end of the Triassic period (the first of the three periods of the Mesozoic era) the environmental conditions contributed to the enormous size of the animal, however, still unknown whether the sauropods (four-legged dinosaurs with long necks) are the same habitats that lisovichi.
Video, photo All from Russia.