Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Metoposaurus algarvensis, Giant Prehistoric Amphibian from Portugal

Model of Metoposaurus algarvensis.
Metoposaurus algarvensis, crocodile-like amphibian, that lived 230 million years ago, was discovered at an ancient lake in southern Portugal. The creature grew up to 2m in length and lived in lakes and rivers during the Late Triassic Period, living much like crocodiles do today and feeding mainly on fish.

The new species was discovered in a large bed of bones where up to several hundred of the creatures may have died when the lake they inhabited dried up, researchers say. Only a fraction of the site - around 4 square meters - has been excavated so far, and the team is continuing work there in the hope of unearthing new fossils.

Most members the group of giant salamander-like amphibians was wiped out during a mass extinction 201 million years ago, long before the death of the dinosaurs. This marked the end of the Triassic Period, when the supercontinent of Pangea - which included all the world's present-day continents - began to break apart. PR