A giant Polish lizard


Fossil bones paint a picture of reptiles that looked like mammals.


Limb bones of dicynodont, Lisowice locality, Silesia, Poland.

Limb bones of dicynodont, Lisowice locality, Silesia, Poland.

Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki

This is a 250-million-year-old limb bone that once belonged to a previously unknown species of mammal-like reptile known as a dicynodont.

The bone was unearthed near the village of Lisowice, in Poland, by scientists led by Grzegorz Niedzwiedzk from Uppsala University, in Sweden.

Dicynodonts were members of a very large group of reptiles that shared many behaviours in common with mammals. They were the dominant terrestrial herbivore until the rise of the dinosaur.

The new species – dubbed Lisowicia bojani – would have been 4.5 metres long, 2.5 metres high and weighed nine tonnes, making it the biggest dicynodont ever found, by a comfortable margin.

The find is described in the journal Science.

  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aal4853
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