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New Fossils Reveal A Surprising Ancient Predator: Salamanders

posted: 03/25/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
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An artist's rendering of Metoposaurus algarvensis, a giant, prehistoric creature.
Mark Boulay/Cossima Productions

While present-day salamanders are small and timid, their prehistoric ancestors were large and in charge, a new study reveals. Paleontologists from the University of Edinburgh today announced the discovery of an enormous, salamander-like prehistoric creature from which modern frogs and newts evolved.

Experts compared the ancient creature to modern crocodiles: they were comparable in size, dined on fish and resided mainly in lakes and rivers.

"This new amphibian looks like something out of a bad monster movie," remarked Dr. Steve Brusatte in a news release. "It was the type of fierce predator that the very first dinosaurs had to put up with if they strayed too close to the water, long before the glory days of T. rex and Brachiosaurus."

Metoposaurus algarvensis' remains were found in the bed of an ancient lake in present-day Portugal. It is the first such species to be discovered on the Iberian peninsula.

Click here for the full story from the University of Edinburgh

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