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?

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Assigned 112 times

  • yonim425
    3/27/2015 - 12:21 p.m.

    This animal is interesting but dangerous at the same time it's interesting because of it's size and dangerous because of it's teeth.The fossil remained in Southern Portugal where the conductors of the dig they say that it is weird compared to anything today so this is a one hit wonder.

  • arwillisb-Orv
    3/27/2015 - 12:49 p.m.

    that is amazing that acient salamanders were as long as a car. this make us interested in other ancient animals of the past to see other amazing discoveries of our past.

  • CT14
    3/27/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    An animal of thi size must have been feared by other animals unless they were bigger then it was somehow. Even if the animal was harmless would the sheer size of it be enough to send even the biggest predator packing.

  • JH2001skater
    3/27/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    the site is called a dig because they are digging up fossils from the ground and putting them together to get the full skeleton of the dinosaur

  • AC1999jamaica
    3/27/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

    do you relise most animals that were evolionize got smaller like a shark. million s of years ago there was a shark called the magaladon shark . one of the biges sea creaters ever discovered.

  • JacobS9
    3/27/2015 - 01:20 p.m.

    The salamander thing is really cool it kind of reminds me of a dinosaur. I think it has to do with science because to get that big your cells have to multiply. Also how tall you are has to do and is in your genes. It also has been fossilized so it could have been some kind of ancient dinosaur. It lived in river so it was amphibian. this is what it has to do with science

  • RachelD-4
    3/27/2015 - 01:23 p.m.

    Fossil remains of an unknown salamander species has recently been uncovered. The dig for this "super salamander began in 2009 and took several years because it was inside a half-meter thick layer of rock. This creature hasn't been completely uncovered but already much is known about it. It it said that the salamander could grow up to about six feet in length (as long as a small car). This salamander species was given the name Metoposaurus algarvensis, and lived about 200 million years ago. During its time, it was a top predator and lived in lakes and rivers. They are the ancestors of modern amphibians (like frogs) and lived at around the same time as the dinosaurs did.

    My opinion about this article is that it must be very exciting to uncover a new species, even though the species is dead. It must be very hard to take it out of the rock but I think they will get through it.

  • jesusdog2
    3/27/2015 - 01:45 p.m.

    I can't believe that the salamander used to be as big as a small car, and that it had hundreds of sharp teeth. I wonder what other big creatures are waiting to be found?

  • ponphanhb612
    3/27/2015 - 02:06 p.m.

    Sounds amazingly dangerous with the size of reptiles being that big in ancient times. Honestly I'm happy that I wasn't born as a giant bug or I'd be in that thing's stomach!

  • Mikaylac829
    3/27/2015 - 02:12 p.m.

    Well that is to be expected because they are closely related to dinosaurs and they are very big and i have watched movies about them they can jump more than 4ft out of the water. Im talking about the little ones

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