Previously unknown extinct species had large teeth on roof of mouthSeptember 12th, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, September 12 (ANI): Paleontologists have found a previously unknown extinct amphibious predator species in Antarctica that had large teeth on the roof of its mouth.
The species, named Kryostega collinsoni, is a temnospondyl, a prehistoric amphibian distantly related to modern salamanders and frogs.
K. collinsoni resembled a modern crocodile, and probably was about 15 feet in length with a long and wide skull even flatter than a crocodiles.
In addition to large upper and lower teeth at the edge of the mouth, temnospondyls often had tiny teeth on the roof of the palate. However, fossil evidence shows the teeth on the roof of the mouth of the newly found species were probably as large as those at the edge of the mouth.
Its teeth, compared to other amphibians, were just enormous. It leads us to believe this animal was a predator taking down large prey, said Christian Sidor, a University of Washington (UW) associate professor of biology and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the UW.
The scientists worked from a fossilized piece of the snout of K. collinsoni, analyzing structures present in more complete skulls for other temnospondyl species that had similar size characteristics.
The anatomy of the snout tells us what major group of amphibian this fossil belonged to, Sidor said.
The shaded area at the snout represents the size of the K. collinsoni fossil found in 1986, compared with the estimated actual head size.
Teeth at the edge of the mouth, as well as on the palate roof, were clearly visible, and the presence of structures similar to those that allow fish and amphibians to sense changes in water pressure led the researchers to conclude that the species was aquatic.
The fossilized piece of snout also contains a nostril, which aided the scientists in judging proportions of the head when comparing it to other fossils. They estimated the skull was about 2.75 feet long and perhaps 2 feet across at its widest point.
Kryostega was the largest animal in Antarctica during the Triassic, Sidor said.
The term Kryostega translates to frozen and roof, which refer to the top of the skull.
At the time K. collinsoni was living, all the worlds land was massed into a giant continent called Pangea. The area of Antarctica where the fossil was found was near what is now the Karoo Basin of South Africa, one of the richest fossil depositories on Earth. (ANI)
- 3D Scan To Reveal Details Of Colossal Sea Monster Pilosaur - Dec 23, 2010
- Scientists find car-sized turtle fossil - May 18, 2012
- 'Saber-toothed' vegetarian prowled Brazil 260 million years ago - Mar 25, 2011
- Tigers never changed much even in two million years? - Dec 03, 2011
- How Jurassic predators evolved into mega meat-eaters - Oct 02, 2010
- Dinosaurs were also marine creatures, not just land dwellers - Feb 20, 2010
- Europe's biggest dinosaur skull found in Spain - Apr 04, 2012
- Scientists discover 'balloon head' dolphin - Nov 03, 2010
- Newly discovered species of dinosaur bridges gap in dinosaur family tree - Apr 13, 2011
- Giant Whale Eating Whale Discovered of Peru Coast - Jul 01, 2010
- Fossils of bird-like dinosaurs discovered in Australia - May 18, 2012
- Gigantic new turtle fossil discovered - Jul 12, 2012
- 'Monster croc' feasted on humans 2 million years ago - Feb 25, 2010
- Dogs were man's best friend even 33,000 years ago - Jan 24, 2012
- World's largest snake feasted on ancient croc relative 60 mln yrs ago - Feb 03, 2010
Tags: amphibian, burke museum, extinct species, fish and amphibians, fossil evidence, major group, museum of natural history, nostril, paleontologists, predator species, roof of mouth, roof of the mouth, salamanders, sense changes, size characteristics, snout, temnospondyls, tiny teeth, vertebrate paleontology, water pressure