General, Research, Technology

Why did ancient predators have huge heads?

Millions of years ago on our planet lived the mostunusual animals, the existence of which many of us are not even aware. For example, recently in the territory of modern Argentina, the skeleton of an ancient snake was found, which had two hind legs. This is nothing - but what can you say about the fact that before the appearance of dinosaurs on the Earth there lived lizards with huge heads that no one dared to hunt? They belonged to the family of reptiles under the name of Garinia and at the moment, scientists know only two of their varieties. One of them was already well studied, but the second still remained something unknown. Recently, scientists finally managed to study in detail their structure and draw very interesting conclusions.

This is how the garinia looked like according to the artist

Fancy animals with huge heads appearedafter the so-called Permian mass extinction 252 million years ago. During one of the largest natural disasters, more than 96% of marine animals and 73% of terrestrial vertebrates died. However, after them, the planet was flooded with completely different species of animals, among which were the aforementioned garinia - superpredators, who occupied the highest place in the food chain of that time.

Ancient predators were very similar to modern Indonesian monitor lizards, about which many interesting things are known

The most dangerous predators of antiquity

Petrified remains of a variety calledGarjainia prima were found by scientists in South Africa. Judging by the excavated bones, the body length of the ancient predators was about three meters. The most unusual part of their body was the head, the size of which almost corresponded to the size of the rest of the body. According to paleontologists, the ancient lizards are one of a kind, because a comparison of their bones with the skeletons of 89 modern mammals with 41 dinosaurs did not reveal anything in common in terms of this ratio of body and head sizes.

Predatory dinosaurs lived before dinosaurs

In addition to South Africa, the bones of ancient predators withhuge heads were also found in Russia. Paleontologists gave the new species of lizards the name Vjushkovia triplicostata, but for a long time could not identify the differences between the two species of creatures. It turned out that they are practically absent - the only exception is the presence of Russian lizards with tiny teeth on the upper part of the oral cavity. It was rather difficult for scientists to detect them due to the fact that teeth are rarely preserved for hundreds of millions of years.

Do you know that once upon a time there lived a kangaroo on Earth that could survive in cold conditions?

Based on the lack of clear differences between the twoskeletons, scientists concluded that the remains found in Africa and Russia belong to the same animal species. Initially, they assumed that a huge head could prevent them from walking, but this theory was quickly rejected. Researchers now believe that the huge jaws of animals helped them grip their victims in the teeth and eat them. Perhaps it was thanks to the large head that the ancient animals were able to get to the very top of the food chain and practically have no enemies capable of attacking them.

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According to the publication Phys.org, at the moment, work on the study of some of the most dangerous animals in history has not been completed. According to Professor Richard Butler, they are trying to study the location of muscles on the body of predators. Thanks to new discoveries, they want to make sure that the ancient dinosaurs really were able to hold such a massive head.