Scientists discover fossilized evidence of elephant-sized beast that lived with dinosaurs

dinosaur extinction, birth
A life-scene from 232 million years ago, during the Carnian Pluvial Episode after which dinosaurs took over. A large rauisuchian lurks in the background, while two species of dinosaurs stand in the foreground. Based on data from the Ischigualasto Formation in Argentina.(Credit: Davide Bonadonna) Davide Bonadonna

Scientists have discovered the fossilized evidence of an elephant-sized beast that lived with dinosaurs around 237 million years ago. The milestone discovery was made at the village of Lisowice in southern Poland and it indicates that dinosaurs were not the only giant creatures that roamed the earth during the Triassic period.

The study report published in the journal Science reveals that this newly discovered creature is named as Lisowicia bojani, which had a body very similar to a giant rhinoceros as well as a turtle-like beak for munching plants.

"Researchers had thought that during the late Triassic, from about 240 million until 201 million years ago, early mammals and their relatives retreated to the shadows while dinosaurs rose up, growing to huge sizes. The new find means the story wasn't quite so simple, suggesting the same evolutionary forces that favoured giant dinosaurs were at work on other creatures as well," wrote the researchers in the study report.

As per the scientists from Poland and Sweden who took part in the study, Lisowicia bojani weighed nearly 10 tons and it stretched 15 feet in length. Researchers also revealed that Lisowicia bojani falls in the species of dicynodonts, a herbivorous mammal that could range in size from a small rat to an ox.

"Such an important new species is a once in a lifetime discovery. The discovery of Lisowicia changes our ideas about the latest history of dicynodonts. It also raises far more questions about what really makes them and dinosaurs so large," said Tomasz Sulej, a researcher at the Polish Academy of Sciences, reports.

Sulej also added that dinosaurs and dicynodonts competed for survival during the Triassic period, and finally, dinosaurs won the race.

"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. Finally, dinosaurs won this evolutionary competition," added Sulej.

Researchers also believe that Lisowicia bojani might have disappeared from the planet before the late Triassic era.

This article was first published on November 24, 2018