Research finds remains of two monster species of saber-toothed predators

A research performed by a team of scientists at the Vyatka Paleontological Museum at Kirov in Russia and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Raleigh in the USA has brought to light the fossilized remains of two species belonging to the ancient saber-toothed predators. The remains of these long extinct species gave clues to the researchers involved in the study of the initial origination of mammals on the Earth.

Part of the fossils collection of the Vyatka Paleontological Museum in Russia, these newly discovered fossilized remains give essential knowledge to the researchers about a period of gap in the initial mammal evolution. This gap is a period between significant mass extinctions, in which the characteristic functionalities of some carnivores altered rapidly.

These fossils reportedly are of the Permian Period and are said to have existed outside South Africa. As said by the researchers involved in the study, one of the fossils belongs to the Nochnitsa geminidens while the other one belongs to that of the Gorynychus masyutinae. The former is a small carnivore having narrow pointed teeth and a significantly long snout. The latter is a carnivore similar in size to that of wolves and is known to be biggest predator of the region where they are found.

Every living mammal has originally come from therapsids, which is an animal group consisting of “protomammals.” Protomammals reportedly formed a huge part of the terrestrial ecosystems during the Permian Period that dates back to near about 299 to 252 m years ago, which implies the period prior to the oldest dinosaurs. The protomammals basically consisted of saber-toothed predators, burrowing insectivores, and tusked herbivores. The largest number of therapsids of the Permian Period has been discovered somewhere in South Africa’s Karoo Basin. Therefore the knowledge of scientists about the evolution of protomammals centers largely in South Africa. The newly discovered fossilized remains of protomammals outside South Africa have given the scientists a new scope of study. The fossilized remains of the Nochnitsa geminidens and Gorynychus masyutinae give scientists clues about the ecosystem post of the extinction of the mid-Permian period.

All the observations of this new research have been published in the PeerJ journal.



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