Anteosaurus Attacking

A live restoration of Anteosaurus assaulting a herbivorous Moschognathus. Credit: Alex Bernardini (@SimplexPaleo)

Previously thought of as heavy, sluggish and sluggish, the 260- million-year-old predator, Anteosaurus, was a ferocious hunter-killer.

Judging by its massive, bone-crushing teeth, massive skull, and powerful jaw, there is no doubt that the Anteosaurus, a premammalian reptile that wandered the African continent 265 to 260 million years earlier– throughout a period called the middle Permian– was a ferocious predator.

Nevertheless, while it was previously thought that this monster of a creature– that grew to about the size of an adult hippo or rhino, and including a thick crocodilian tail– was too heavy and slow to be a reliable hunter, a brand-new study has revealed that the Anteosaurus would have been able to outrun, track down and kill its victim successfully.

Regardless of its name and strong look, Anteosaurus is not a dinosaur but rather comes from the dinocephalians– mammal-like reptiles preceding the dinosaurs. Similar to the dinosaurs, dinocephalians roamed and ruled the Earth in the past, however they came from, grew, and died about 30 million years prior to the first dinosaur even existed.

Anteosaurus Compared to Modern Human

The skull of Anteosaurus compared to a modern human. Credit: Wits University

The fossilized bones of Dinocephalians are found in numerous places in the world. They stick out by their plus size and heavy weight. Dinocephalian bones are thick and dense, and Anteosaurus is no exception. The Anteosaurus’ skull was ornamented with big bosses (bumps and swellings) above the eyes and a long crest on top of the snout which, in addition to its enlarged canines, made its skull appear like that of a relentless animal. Because of the heavy architecture of its skeleton, it was previously presumed that it was a rather sluggish, slow-moving animal, only capable of scavenging or assailing its victim, at finest.

” Some scientists even recommended that Anteosaurus was so heavy that it could only have actually resided in water,” says Dr. Julien Benoit of the Evolutionary Researches Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University).

Transparent Anteosaurus Skull

The transparent skull of Anteosaurus (left) and Moschognathus (right) showing the differences in their brain cavities (green) and inner ear (purple). Credit: Wits University

By carefully rebuilding the skull of the Anteosaurus digitally utilizing X-ray imaging and 3D restorations, a team of researchers examined the internal structures of the skull and discovered that the specific qualities of its brain and balance organs were established in such a way that it was everything however slow-moving.

” Nimble predators such as cheetahs or the notorious Velociraptor have always had actually a really specialized nerve systems and fine-tuned sensory organs that enable them to track and pursue victim efficiently,” states Benoit. “We wished to learn whether the Anteosaurus possessed similar adaptations.”

The group discovered that the organ of balance in Anteosaurus(its inner ear) was reasonably larger than that of its closest loved ones and other contemporaneous predators. This suggests that Anteosaurus was capable of moving much faster than its prey and competitors. They likewise found that the part of the brain accountable for collaborating the motions of the eyes with the head was exceptionally big, which would have been an important quality to make sure the animal’s tracking capabilities.

” In developing the most complete reconstruction of an Anteosaurus skull to date, we found that overall, the nervous system of Anteosaurus was enhanced and specialized for hunting quickly and striking quickly, unlike what was formerly believed,” says Dr. Ashley Kruger from the Natural History Museum in Stockholm, Sweden and formerly from Wits University.

” Although Anteosaurus lived 200- million years prior to the popular dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex, Anteosaurus was certainly not a ‘primitive’ creature, and was absolutely nothing short of a magnificent prehistoric killing device,” says Benoit.

Recommendation: “Palaeoneurology and palaeobiology of the dinocephalian therapsid Anteosaurus magnificus” by Julien Benoit, Ashley Kruger, Sifelani Jirah, Vincent Fernandez and Bruce S. Rubidge, 18 February 2021, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica
DOI: 10.2020

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