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!
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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?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/ancient-salamander-was-long-car/

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COMMENTS (164)
  • laurenm-boo
    3/27/2015 - 11:35 a.m.

    The dig began in 2009 and took several years. The "super salamander" bones were uncovered in a half-meter thick layer of a rock in a hillside that is "clock-full" of bones, Brusatte said.

  • kimj-boo
    3/27/2015 - 11:35 a.m.

    A site where fossil remains are found are "digs" because the fossils are deep in the ground. You have to dig a lot to find the fossils.The super salamander took several years to find.

  • Melitzav4-Sch
    3/27/2015 - 11:39 a.m.

    Wow ! I never thought i would see such a big salamander on this planet . I bet the people that discovered them were shocked to see such a discovery . If only they lived in Florida it would be amazing to see one in my own backyard .

  • LillyH-Bre
    3/27/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

    I used to think that salamanders were small, but now I think about this article instead! If they weren't instinct I would be terrified just to see them at the zoo, even though I know it couldn't escape.

  • KAnthony-Cas
    3/27/2015 - 11:48 a.m.

    I think it is very interesting and important for scientists to know about these salamanders. I also think it is interestin. It's cool to see the animals in such big size.

  • rachelh10503
    3/27/2015 - 11:50 a.m.

    Its insane that there is a salamander the size of a small car. I could imagine a snake, not a salamander! Its kind of scary though.

  • citlallis6503
    3/27/2015 - 12:04 p.m.

    That's really long! I wonder how many big lizards we haven't discovered. It's exciting because there could be larger ones but they could be toxic too.

  • Madisonm157
    3/27/2015 - 12:04 p.m.

    That is kind of terrifying that a salamander can be as big as a small car. I always thought they were tiny and little that can be pets well my mind changed now. Hopefully we don't find anymore.

  • Jamarion1028
    3/27/2015 - 12:05 p.m.

    The site where fossils are found are called a dig because they start digging their and it is a dig site for fossils. And the reason they might call it a dig is they might still dig there to see if their is more or if their is a different fossil over there.

  • taranjw315
    3/27/2015 - 12:10 p.m.

    This is amazing because you wouldn't expect a Salamander to be / grow to be more than six feet in length I myself think that that is amazing because it grew to be the size of a small car and the height and length of a crocodile.

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