Paleontologists from the University of New South Wales have recently confirmed a new genus. Those belong to a marsupial lion that was the size of a house cat with teeth sharp enough to break bones. The tiny lion's fossil was discovered at Australia's Riversleigh World Heritage Area located in Queensland.
Researchers have been discovering fossils at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area for decades. It is believed that this type of lion lived almost 24 million years ago. It was previously believed that the new marsupial lion was a part of the Priscileo roskellyae (Thylacoleonidae) genus. A primary reason for this misunderstanding was its teeth and the creature's small size.
But upon closer inspection of the creature's skull and lower jaw, it was discovered that the skull anatomy of this marsupial lion was distinctly different from that of other marsupial lions. According to reports, the paper that confirms, the newly discovered mammal was a new genus of the marsupial lion, was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. As per reports, researchers believe that this newly discovered marsupial lion lived in trees and ate birds, snakes and other small animals with its razor-sharp teeth.
Roughly 5 to 10 million years ago, giant turtles that would have dwarfed humans, roamed in the freshwater swamps of South America. Researchers have discovered the shells of these giant turtles. It is believed that these turtles' shells could reach an impressive length of 10 feet and weigh a whopping 2,500 pounds. After studying the shells of Stupendemys Geographicus, the scientific name of these gigantic turtles, and their lower jaw fossils, researchers have deduced that these turtles had horned shells which they most likely used to protect their skulls.
Bite marks on the shells have also revealed that despite their massive size, they were attacked by predators like a giant alligator. Most recently, shells of these giant turtles were discovered in Venezuela and Colombia. Reports indicate that these giant turtles were first described by palaeontologist Roger Wood in 1976. He later named them Stupendemys due to its large size and geographics in recognition to the support provided by National Geographic Society in turtle research.
The researchers can not exactly pinpoint the cause for the extinction of these giant turtles, but they believe that their habitat was disturbed when the Andes mountains rose and separated the Amazon, Orinoco and Magdalena rivers.