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[dinosaur] Lisowicia, new giant dicynodont from Late Triassic of Poland

Ben Creisler

New papers:

Lisowicia bojani gen. & sp. nov.Â

Tomasz Sulej & Grzegorz NiedÅwiedzki (2018)
An elephant-sized Late Triassic synapsid with erect limbs.
Science : eaal4853 (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4853

Here, we describe the dicynodont Lisowicia bojani, from the Late Triassic of Poland, a gigantic synapsid with seemingly upright subcursorial limbs that reached an estimated length of more than 4.5 meters, height of 2.6 meters, and body mass of 9 tons. Lisowicia is the youngest undisputed dicynodont and the largest nondinosaurian terrestrial tetrapod from the Triassic. The lack of lines of arrested growth and the highly remodeled cortex of its limb bones suggest permanently rapid growth and recalls that of dinosaurs and mammals. The discovery of Lisowicia overturns the established picture of the Triassic megaherbivore radiation as a phenomenon restricted to dinosaurs and shows that stem-group mammals were capable of reaching body sizes that were not attained again in mammalian evolution until the latest Eocene.


Gretchen Vogel (2018)
Giant mammal cousin rivaled early dinosaurs
Science 362(6417): 879
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6417.879

Imagine if you crossed a rhino with a giant turtle and then supersized the result: You might get something like Lisowicia bojani, a newly discovered Triassic mammal cousin that had a body shaped like a rhinoceros, a beak like a turtle, and weighed as much as an African elephant, about 9 tons. Paleontologists say this startling creature offers a new view of the dawn of the age of the dinosaurs. 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 favored giant dinosaurs were at work on other creatures as well.



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