"This discovery is doubly important because there are at least seven or eight individuals of dicynodonts
, the ancestors of mammals, the size of an ox," he said.
One group of therapsids are the dicynodonts. Researchers have discovered fossils from a new genus of gigantic dicynodont.
One group of therapsids are the dicynodonts. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, together with colleagues in Poland, have discovered fossils from a new genus of gigantic dicynodont.
Similar fossils from so-called dicynodonts have been found elsewhere, but they were dated to be from an earlier period, before a series of natural disasters wiped out most species on Earth.
The discovery of giant dicynodonts living at the same time as sauropods -- a branch of the dinosaur family that later produced the iconic long-necked diplodocus -- suggests environmental factors in the late Triassic period may have driven the evolution of gigantism, the researchers said.
Scientists announced the surprising discovery in Poland of fossils of a four-legged beast called Lisowicia bojani that demonstrated that dinosaurs were not the only behemoths on Earth at that time and that the group of mammal-like reptiles to which Lisowicia belonged, called dicynodonts, did not die out as long ago as previously believed.
"The late Triassic Period wasn't just the time of the rise of dinosaurs, it was also the time when the last dicynodonts decided to compete with dinosaurs.
Though some dinosaurs, such as a theropod called Coelophysis (D), did live in the late Triassic, they did not rule the landscape, Existing non-dinos included large armored herbivores called aetosaurs (C and E), mammal-like reptiles known as dicynodonts
(A), land-dwelling ancestors of today's crocodiles (B), salamander-like amphibians (G) and other aquatic predators (F and H).
The fossilised footprint was left by a lizard called dicynodonts
, which roamed the earth before the dinosaurs.
, longitudinal nasofrontal ridges are known in several genera (Lystrosaurus, Van Hoepen 1913; Cluver 1971; Pristerodon, Barry 1967; Kingoria, Kemp 1969).
All mammals, including humans, are descended from dicynodonts
, despite their reptilian origins.
By noting that the southern beech tree, certain mammal-like reptiles known as Dicynodonts
and other Australian flora and fauna are found only on Gondwana continents, scientists have determined that these continents were once linked .