Elephant sized herbivore, Startling, Lisowicia bojani, New dinosaur discovered
image source: CBS news

It is true that many unknown creatures were used to roam on the earth and we have never seen them but after millions of years we are able to excavate those fossils and try to learn their features which helps us to study evolution better.

A giant, plant-eating creature which is elephant sized with a beak-like mouth and reptilian features may have roamed the Earth during the late Triassic period more than 200 million years ago, scientists said. In a paper published Thursday by the journal Science, Polish researchers claim their find overturns the notion that the only giant plant-eaters at the time were dinosaurs.

Elephant sized herbivore, Startling, Lisowicia bojani
Limb bones are found in Poland

It is supposed to be a huge creature may be of elephant-sized which is known as Lisowicia bojani. The creature is named so because it is found in that village named Lisowicia bojani in Poland, it belongs to the same evolutionary branch to which mammals belongs.

“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,” said Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, a paleontologist at Uppsala University in Sweden who co-authored the paper.

Researchers also claim that this herbivore was the only giant plant-eater at the time when dinosaurs were present.

The discovery of giant dicynodonts living at the same time as sauropods—a branch of the dinosaur family that later produced the iconic long-necked diplodocus—suggests environmental factors in the late Triassic period may have driven the evolution of gigantism, the researchers said. Christian Kammerer, a dicynodont specialist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences not involved in the find, said the size of Lisowicia was “startling.”

“Large dicynodonts have been known before in both the Permian and the Triassic, but never at this scale,” he said

Kammerer said that “while dicynodonts and dinosaurs existed at the same time, there’s no evidence yet that they lived in the same habitats. He also questioned the study’s conclusions about Lisowicia’s posture

This is a relevant question as if these plant-eaters existed at the same time in the same habitat then they would be at the higher risk of predation. “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,” said Kammerer.

“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,” said Dr Tomasz Sulej, of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

“Dicynodonts were amazingly successful animals in the Middle and Late Triassic. Lisowicia is the youngest dicynodont and the largest non-dinosaurian terrestrial tetrapod from the Triassic,” said Dr Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki of Uppsala University.

“It’s natural to want to know how dicynodonts became so large. Lisowicia is hugely exciting because it blows holes in many of our classic ideas of Triassic ‘mammal-like reptiles’.”

Robert Borzecki was the first to do some findings of fossils from Lisowice. This area is considered to be river deposit during the late Triassic Period.

“The discovery of such an important new species is a once in a lifetime discovery,” said Dr Sulej.

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