(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have discovered a new species of prehistoric predators. An article about this was published in PeerJ.
Bastien Mennekart of the Natural History Museum Basel and his colleagues described the fossilized lower jaw of a predator that lived 36-7 million years ago. The fossil itself was found in the French Pyrenees in marine sediments about 12 million years old.
The jaw was distinguished by unusual lower teeth. It belonged to a member of the Amphicyonid family, or beardogs, but the lower fourth premolar in this animal would not be similar to those commonly found in this family.
The fourth premolars play a special role in the identification of species and genera of Amphicyonids, and therefore the researchers decided that they had discovered a new genus.
Its representatives will be called tartarotions, in honor of Tartaro, the one-eyed giant from Basque mythology. The weight of the animal could reach 320 kilograms.
Amphicyonids looked like a hybrid of a bear and a large dog, hence their informal name. Scientists hesitated for a long time whether to attribute them to canines or bears, but in the end they created a new family.
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