Ancient salamander was as long as a car!
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: 1300L

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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?

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Assigned 19 times

  • MadisonSch
    3/30/2015 - 01:28 p.m.

    It would be cool to have a pet that was the size of a car. The problem would be where to put it. Otherwise, it's cool.

  • EmmaBender
    3/30/2015 - 01:33 p.m.

    It's really cool how large they have been but I think it would be dangerous and scary. Large salamanders still exist and they can be seen at some zoos but they aren't as big as a car.

  • vancer-Che
    3/30/2015 - 01:46 p.m.

    Well that's interesting, a fish has an ancestor as big as a car. That's cool, I'm glad they gave it a name like "super salamander" instead of something long and hard to pronounce.

  • fernandoc-Che
    3/30/2015 - 01:47 p.m.

    I want to know if these salamanders were able to bite large animals or if they stuck to eating insects. I also wonder if their bones were bigger as well.

  • namelt-Che
    3/30/2015 - 01:57 p.m.

    I think that this is interesting because I never seen a reptile that long in my life. It is interesting that bones were uncovered in a half-meter thick layer of rock. The longest that a salamander can grow is 6ft.

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    3/31/2015 - 06:34 a.m.

    When I first read the title, I thought that it was some kind of never-discovered dinosaur. But as I started reading, I realized that it actually meant a salamander! If I found one of these in real life, walking around and stuff, I would either run away screaming or stand frozen in shock and fear! However, this is such a unique finding for those scientists, so they better feel proud for finding it.

  • DamienQ-Kut
    3/31/2015 - 05:21 p.m.

    I think that article was very interesting. I can't believe how long salamanders have been on the earth I was stunned, 200 million years! what was also interesting is how long it is! 6 feet in length. I'm very curious how much more animals of other species that are still alive now I really want to learn more.

  • TF000Music
    4/01/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    I think that it's called a dig because thats how they fing the fossils. They have to dig up an area to find the fossils and when they find them, they do something with the fssils and continue digging just in case they find more fossils.

  • JacobM-5
    4/01/2015 - 10:26 p.m.

    This article was about a species of ancient salamanders. Back in the prehistoric error Metoposaurus algarvensis who were ancient salamander and crocodiles were as big as a small size car. They were amphibians who were at the top of there food chain. They fed mostly on fish, but if a small mammal came close enough to there area they could become food as well. They were mostly located in Portugal, but became extinct.

  • DenisT1
    4/06/2015 - 08:37 a.m.

    Thats a huge salamander. Imagine if all salamanders were that size, that'd be insane.
    I hate this word limiter. Seriously. I really really really do.

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