Ancient salamander was as long as a car! An artist's rendition of a previously unknown species of crocodile-like "super salamander" that roamed the Earth more than 200 million years ago (AP photos)
Ancient salamander was as long as a car!
Lexile

Fossil remains of a previously unknown species of a crocodile-like "super salamander" that grew as long as a small car and was a top predator more than 200 million years ago have been found in southern Portugal.

The species grew up to six feet in length and lived in lakes and rivers, University of Edinburgh researchers said.

The team said the species, given the name Metoposaurus algarvensis, was part of a wider group of primitive amphibians that were widespread at the time but became extinct. They are the ancestors of modern amphibians such as frogs and are believed by paleontologists to have lived at the same time the dinosaurs began their dominance.

Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said the new species, which had hundreds of sharp teeth, is "weird compared to anything today."

It was at the top of the food chain, feeding mainly on fish, but it was also a danger for newly appeared dinosaurs and mammals that strayed too near the water, Brusatte said.

The team says the find establishes that this group of amphibians lived in a more diverse geographic area than had been thought.

The dig began in 2009 and took several years. The "super salamander" bones were uncovered in a half-meter thick layer of rock in a hillside that is "chock-full" of bones, Brusatte said. The team hopes to raise funds to continue excavating the site.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is a site where fossil remains are found called a dig?

Assigned 19 times


COMMENTS (27)
  • GrantW-2
    3/27/2015 - 09:27 a.m.

    This article is about an ancient salamander that grew to be as big as a car. The salamander was alive 2 million years ago and had teeth lining its mouth. I like this article because I like amphibians.

  • rm00pennie
    3/27/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    the site where archiologist look for fossiles is called a dig because they have to dig for fossiles and i guess they thought that the best name for it would be a dig intsed of an fossile site or some other big name they wouldd give it. a dig was probably just easier to remmber.

  • GDesiree-Cas
    3/27/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    I personally think that the "super salamander" bones that were discovered are very interesting. It's crazy to think that this salamander was as long as a car. To me, the "super salamander" looks just like a crocodile. I never would've expected a salamander to be as huge as they say it was. This article on the "super salamander" was very interesting to read.

  • cc2000ProEra
    3/27/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    A site is called a dig because its where they try and find fossils to put together for a full skeleton. you also dig to find fossils.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    3/27/2015 - 02:39 p.m.

    It is truly astonishing to read about such a large salamander. I have actually never seen a salamander before, and I can't even imagine what it would be to see one this big!

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    3/29/2015 - 09:46 a.m.

    Its absolutely crazy that any type of animal is as big as a car, let alone something that is about two inches now. This is an amazing discovery and will blow many people's minds.

  • JadenW-Kut
    3/29/2015 - 06:00 p.m.

    I think it is honestly interesting how our animal ancestors could be so big and different from today's every day common animals. I'm very happy I am in the twenty-first century so I don't have to deal with salamanders the size of a car, or enormous dinosaurs that are oblivious to your existence until you get squashed or eaten. I hope people keep pursuing the search for ancient bones, I love when another piece to the big puzzle of Earth's past gets solved.

  • McConnellN-Tan
    3/30/2015 - 08:45 a.m.

    It would be amazing to find out where amphibians came from and what were their real parents. If we could get all old animals and creatures and found what their ancestry leads them to. If lizards used to grow the length of cars, then what would happen if another one of today's species grew that long, would they eat meat or plants?

  • donovanh-Che
    3/30/2015 - 11:49 a.m.

    This is an interesting species, however I am not surprised by is discovery considering the abundance of huge organisms back then. Due to the high concentration of oxygen back then, animals could grow larger because there was more oxygen per unit of blood than there is now. But I am interested in its respiratory system because presuming it lived in water at least part of the time, the water pressure would have adverse affects on its lungs much like it does on us making it slightly harder to breathe underwater.

  • Haley Patterson
    3/30/2015 - 01:22 p.m.

    If I were to ever see a salamander as long as a car, I would be so scared and more than likely run. It's insane that there were animals this big at a time.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT