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Pre historic super salamander was top predator

Pre historic super salamander was top predator
Highlights

A species of crocodile-like amphibian that lived during the rise of dinosaurs was among earth\'s top predators more than 200 million years ago, a study shows. Palaeontologists identified the prehistoric species -- which looked like giant salamanders -- after excavating bones buried on the site of an ancient lake in southern Portugal.

London: A species of crocodile-like amphibian that lived during the rise of dinosaurs was among earth's top predators more than 200 million years ago, a study shows. Palaeontologists identified the prehistoric species -- which looked like giant salamanders -- after excavating bones buried on the site of an ancient lake in southern Portugal. The species, Metoposaurus algarvensis, lived at the same time as the first dinosaurs began their dominance, which lasted for over 150 million years, revealed the study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

The species was part of a wider group of primitive amphibians that were widespread at low latitudes 220-230 million years ago, researchers said. The creatures grew up to two metres in length and lived in lakes and rivers during the Late Triassic Period, living much like crocodiles do today and feeding mainly on fish, researchers said. These primitive amphibians formed part of the ancestral stock from which modern amphibians -- such as frogs and newts -- evolved. The species were distant relatives of the salamanders of today. It is the first member of the group to be discovered in the Iberian Peninsula, the team said.

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