Scientists say that the related mummy of a related mammal, the size of an elephant that fell on herbs with her big beak, surrounded the European landscape with dinosaurs during the Triassic period of about 205 million to 210 million years ago.
The scientists published a surprising discovery in Poland of fossils of a four-year-old beast called Lisovicia colorants that showed that dinosaurs were not the only behemoths on earth at that time.
She also showed that a group of blinds like mammals belonging to Lisovica, called dicinodonts, did not die long ago, as previously believed.
"We consider it to be one of the most unreliable discoveries of fossils from the European Triad," said paleontologist Grzegorz Niedzviedzki of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.
Lisovici, the largest known non-dinosaur country living in its time, was about 4.5 meters long, 2.6 meters high and 9 tons tall. The only other giants at the time were early members of a group of dinosaurs called sauropods who had four legs, long necks and long tails.
"The lobster skull and jaw were highly specialized: without teeth and mouth it was equipped with a jerky beak, like in turtles and corn dinosaurs," said Niedzviedzki, adding that it is not clear if he had hips, as some of them did of his relatives.
Triasic was an open chapter in the time of dinosaurs, followed by a yoke and a period of chalk. The first dinosaurs appeared about 230 million years ago. Many of the earliest dinosaurs were modest in size, in the shadow of large land-based reptiles, including terrible predators called rauisuchians and crocodile phytosaurs.
"The late Triassic period was not only the time of the dinosaur growth, but also the time when the last dicinodonts decided to compete with dinosaurs. Finally, dinosaurs won this evolutionary competition," said palaeontologist Tomasz Suley of the Polish Academy of the Institute of Paleobiology.
Dicinodonts mixed reptilian and mammalian properties. First appearing millions of years before the first mammals developed in the late Triassic, these farmers ranged in size from small ships to large browsers. They became the dominant earthly plants in the middle and late triassic, but so far they thought they died before dinosaurs became dominant land animals.
Scientists discovered about 100 bone fragments, which were represented by several individuals from Lisovici in the Polish village of Lisovica.
An analysis of the limbs of the creature showed that the bones had a fast velocity similar to a mammal or dinosaur.
The research was published in the journal Science.
Australian Associated Press