Namibia fossil is a prehistoric ‘swamp thing’ with menacing fangs

by | Jul 4, 2024 | Science

By Will Dunham(Reuters) – You might call it the “swamp thing.” About 280 million years ago, a large creature built somewhat like a salamander but with frightful fangs prowled the swamps and lakes of what is now Namibia, ambushing prey as a top predator in a chilly ecosystem long before the dinosaurs.The creature, named Gaiasia jennyae, lived during the Permian Period and measured at least 8 feet (2.5 meters) long – and perhaps up to 13 feet (4 meters), according to researchers who announced the discovery of its fossilized remains. Its large, round, flat skull measured more than 2 feet (60 cm) long, and it had interlocking fangs at the front of its mouth.”Wide flat heads in modern animals usually are used to generate strong suction to ambush prey by suddenly sucking it into their mouths. Gaiasia combines that with huge fangs for grabbing and killing large prey,” said Jason Pardo, a postdoctoral fellow in paleontology at the Field Museum in Chicago and one of the leaders of the research published this week in the journal Nature.The fossils were unearthed in Namibia, a country in southwest Africa. Because of the gradual movement over time of the crustal plates that form Earth’s outer layer – a process …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnBy Will Dunham(Reuters) – You might call it the “swamp thing.” About 280 million years ago, a large creature built somewhat like a salamander but with frightful fangs prowled the swamps and lakes of what is now Namibia, ambushing prey as a top predator in a chilly ecosystem long before the dinosaurs.The creature, named Gaiasia jennyae, lived during the Permian Period and measured at least 8 feet (2.5 meters) long – and perhaps up to 13 feet (4 meters), according to researchers who announced the discovery of its fossilized remains. Its large, round, flat skull measured more than 2 feet (60 cm) long, and it had interlocking fangs at the front of its mouth.”Wide flat heads in modern animals usually are used to generate strong suction to ambush prey by suddenly sucking it into their mouths. Gaiasia combines that with huge fangs for grabbing and killing large prey,” said Jason Pardo, a postdoctoral fellow in paleontology at the Field Museum in Chicago and one of the leaders of the research published this week in the journal Nature.The fossils were unearthed in Namibia, a country in southwest Africa. Because of the gradual movement over time of the crustal plates that form Earth’s outer layer – a process …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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