The remains of an enormous plant-eating dicynodont creature called Lisowicia bojani were recently discovered in Poland — and scientists believe that this ancient herbivore once existed 200 million years ago, during the late Triassic period.
As Phys.org reports, this strange creature had features which were very similar to a reptile, and also had a mouth shaped like beak. However, this large reptile was the size of an elephant — weighing a whopping nine tons — and was actually a mammal, despite its appearance.
In the new study which describes this astounding find, researchers from Poland were very clear that their discovery completely dispels the notion that dinosaurs at this time were the only large plant eaters roaming the Earth. And while other dicynodonts have certainly been discovered in other areas, these all would have lived during much earlier periods.
The herbivore Lisowicia bojani was given its name after the village in Poland that it was discovered in, and scientists note that this newly-discovered creature is considered to be a mammal. Paleontologist Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, from the Uppsala University in Sweden, was co-author of the study on this new creature. He explained, “We used to think that after the end-Permian extinction, mammals and their relatives retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up and grew to huge sizes.”
A giant, plant-eating creature with a beak-like mouth and reptilian features may have roamed the Earth more than 200 million years ago demonstrating that dinosaurs were not the only behemoths on the planet at that time, scientists say https://t.co/QvhRUIA8wA— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) November 22, 2018
Christian Kammerer — who is a specialist in dicynodonts, hailing from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science — has called the large size of the Lisowicia bojani that was just discovered “startling.” However, he noted that the remains of this creature clearly illustrate that scientists still have plenty to learn about animals who lived during the late Triassic period.
“Large dicynodonts have been known before in both the Permian and the Triassic, but never at this scale. However, overall I think this is a very intriguing and important paper, and shows us that there is a still a lot left to learn about early mammal relatives in the Triassic.”
Other remains of dicynodonts that have been discovered were found to have a wide range of sizes — from tiny burrowing creatures to much larger ones. The Lisowicia bojani remains that were recently found hint at an animal which would have been considered quite large for its respective time.
According to the Independent, Dr. Tomasz Sulej of the Polish Academy of Sciences stated, “The discovery of Lisowicia changes our ideas about the latest history of dicynodonts, mammal Triassic relatives. It also raises far more questions about what really make them and dinosaurs so large.”
The new study on the remains of the large dicynodont that was discovered by scientists in Poland has been published in Science.