Monday, December 10, 2018
Ancient elephant-sized mammal ancestor gave dinosaurs a run for their money
While mammals dominate the planet nowadays, for millions of years we played second fiddle to reptiles – most notably the dinosaurs. While reptiles became the biggest land animals to ever walk the Earth, mammals were mostly rat-sized critters running around underfoot. But now palaeontologists have described a mammal ancestor from the Triassic Period that bucked the trend and grew to the size of an elephant, giving those early dinosaurs a run for their money.
The newly-described species, named Lisowicia bojani, belonged to a group of animals called dicynodonts. Living about 250 to 220 million years ago during the Triassic, this herbivorous group has been described as "mammal-like reptiles," and would one day give rise to modern-day mammals.