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" have been found. The super salamander grew as long as a small car and was a top predator more than 200 million years ago.

The fossil remains were found in southern Portugal.

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

The team said the species has been given the name Metoposaurus algarvensis. It 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. They 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 led the study. He said the new species had hundreds of sharp teeth. It 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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COMMENTS (164)
  • ZH2001blue
    3/27/2015 - 08:40 a.m.

    It is called an dig because that where they dig and observe fossils remains. That is why it is called a dig site a place where you look at the foosils they found.

  • zG2000mimi
    3/27/2015 - 08:45 a.m.

    the dig began in 2009 and took several years to dig but what is so great about it is that in the dig the super salamander bones were uncovered in a half-meter thick layer of rocks in hillside that is "chock-full" of bones.

  • D.F2001Rex
    3/27/2015 - 08:47 a.m.

    I think that Salamanders are pretty scary but to see one that is the size of a car is just terrifing. Just imagine a salamander walking side by side next to a car down the street, that is very scary.

  • ad2000stealth
    3/27/2015 - 08:48 a.m.

    A site where fossils remains are found is called a dig probably because they have to DIG to get the fossils and to find anything that is ancient or anything.

  • vincentg-2
    3/27/2015 - 10:10 a.m.

    This article is about a massive salamander. It's nickname is the super salamander because it is as long as a car. This ancient salamander was also a top predator about 200 million years ago. The salamander also has an extremely wide head, wich leaves room for moor teeth.

  • vincentg-2
    3/27/2015 - 10:10 a.m.

    This article is about a massive salamander. It's nickname is the super salamander because it is as long as a car. This ancient salamander was also a top predator about 200 million years ago. The salamander also has an extremely wide head, wich leaves room for moor teeth.

  • HAbigail-Cas
    3/27/2015 - 10:15 a.m.

    I think this is awesome because it is more proof that there were actually dinosaurs once living upon this earth. Even though we do have salamanders on the planet now, they are about 3 inches long... Not 6 feet. To me a 6 foot salamander has to do a lot with dinosaurs and just more proof they did at once exist.

  • allies-4
    3/27/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    The fossils of a giant salamander-like creature have been found at a dig site in Portugal. This creature is said to have lived 200 million years ago about the same time the dinosaurs started taking over. These creatures grew up to 6 feet in size and lived in rivers and lakes. The excavation took 6 years to get out a complete set of bones. Why did the Excavation take so long?

  • HazelD-Bre
    3/27/2015 - 11:31 a.m.

    That is very interesting to think of that stuff .Why is there a super salamander to know about



    That is cool to have an article for that I would want to look at a super salamander

  • genesisl-boo
    3/27/2015 - 11:33 a.m.

    The site were fossil remains are found are called dig because you actually have to dig a lot to find these ancient fossils that takes a lot of effort and that is why it is called a dig.

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