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Palaeontology

Gigantic prehistoric predatory cat discovered

April 23, 2019 | Comment icon 15 comments



The new species puts today's lions to shame. Image Credit: Trisha M Shears
Palaeontologists unexpectedly came across fossil evidence of the creature in a museum drawer in Kenya.
Larger than any of today's lions or tigers, this gargantuan apex predator had a skull the size of a rhinoceros and belonged to an extinct group of mammals known as the hyaenodonts.

Named Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, the species, which lived 45 million years ago, weighed almost 3,000lbs - an insane figure when you consider that modern adult lions weigh in at around 400lbs.

The fossils were found quite by accident by Nancy Stevens and Matthew Borths of Ohio University.

"The most striking feature of Simbakubwa is the size of the specimen," they wrote. "Based on its massive dentition, the animal was significantly larger than any modern African terrestrial carnivore."
It is believed that the hyaenodonts disappeared somewhere around 15 to 18 million years ago.

"We don't know exactly what drove hyaenodonts to extinction, but ecosystems were changing quickly as the global climate became drier," said Borths.

"The gigantic relatives of Simbakubwa were among the last hyaenodonts on the planet."



Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (15)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
But seriously, I thought if we cloned mammoths and were to release them in the wild, the northern tundra of Canada might be an ideal location.   
Comment icon #7 Posted by Dark_Grey 3 years ago
That or Siberia. I believe Siberia more closely matches their original habitat. There is even talk of cloning mammoths in Siberia to reduce climate change....something to do with the way mammoths interact with grasses or something...
Comment icon #8 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
What about all those bigfoot hunters out there? they could be eaten by these roaming beast, but more importantly,  bigfoot could get eaten. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
I thought about Siberia too.    A big issue, if we ever got to that point, will be the poaching for the ivory.   Heck, looks like you can currently buy it. https://www.boonetrading.com/collections/mammoth-ivory-bone
Comment icon #10 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
We know these traders did not poach them, but yes, reckon they would if these animals were around, then they would not sell things in halves Mostly?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 3 years ago
Some vindication here, although I doubt others will recall. ^ months or so ago, a scientific article was released saying that 86% of all species on earth still not found  Link  - to wit " Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth's species have yet to be fully described, according to new study that predicts our planet is home to 8.7 million species.             That means scientists have cataloged less than 15 percent of species now alive—and current extinction rates mean many unknown organisms will wink out of existence before they can be recorded.---------------------     So I... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
What does this discovery have anything to do with undiscovered living species?
Comment icon #13 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
I was thinking the same thing.   Using the finding of a large species from 20 million years ago as support for bigfoot existing is kind of silly.   In fact, it is quite the opposite.   We can find proof of an animal from 20 million years ago, but not of a large species that supposedly lives in many places on the planet.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Carnoferox 3 years ago
Irrelevant comparisons are typical crypto rhetoric so I can't say I'm surprised.
Comment icon #15 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
Thought the same thing. Finding animsl fossils from 20 million years ago is not the easiest thing to do, but they do find them. And yet some (alleged)  bigfoot waltzing about in numerous states seems to be impossible to find.  What more proof do the bigfooterions need that there is no bigfoot?   Yes, i just invented the word  bigfooterions. 


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