Polish scientists have completed the study of the remains of a monstrous creature, the origin of which changes the whole picture of the ancient animal world. The animal was named "Lisowicia bojani" and is considered the first dicynodont found in Europe. It was a herbivorous monster, half reptile, half mammal, that could compete with dinosaurs for a place in the sun.
It is believed that about 300 million years ago, synapsids, the common ancestors of all land creatures, ruled on Earth. During the Permian extinction, they split into many groups and one of them evolved into giant predatory dinosaurs, while all the rest became very tiny. The new find makes adjustments to this scheme - we see that at least one species of non-dinosaurs lived in the same era and also developed into a by no means small creature.
Lisowicia bojani belongs to dicynodonts, which are not the direct ancestors of modern mammals. Rather, a lateral and ultimately dead-end branch of evolution. Instead of a mouth, they had a resemblance of a turtle's beak, with two small tusks on the sides, and due to the complete lack of teeth, they had to swallow food whole so that it was ground in a millstone-like section of the stomach. It is believed that dicynodonts were the first vertebrates to learn to survive only on plant foods.
Polish paleontologists were extraordinarily lucky to find a 70% preserved skeleton, as well as fossilized feces. Plus, in the same historical layer, 210-220 million years ago, they found dinosaur bones, which proves that these species were neighbors and competitors in the pasture. At more than 5 m in length and 3 m at the withers, Lisowicia could surely fight off many predatory dinosaurs. Now scientists hope to find other huge dicynodonts - who knows, maybe it's time to rewrite the entire history of the animal world?