Tags: car-sized | killer | newt | salamander

Car-Sized Killer Newt: Scientists Find Remains of Super Salamander

Image: Car-Sized Killer Newt: Scientists Find Remains of Super Salamander
Fossil remains of a prehistoric car-sized killer newt named Metoposaurus algarvensis rest on a working table at the laboratory of the Lourinha dinosaurs museum, in Lourinha, Portugal, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

By    |   Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 03:24 PM

The fossilized remains of a car-sized killer newt were recently found in southern Portugal, archeologists announced this week.

LiveScience reported that that the super salamander, now called "metoposaurus algarvensis," was found in a lake bed, and is thought to have lived some 220 million to 230 million years ago.

"We have a site where a lot of these animals died together and were preserved together," Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, told LiveScience. "So, basically, it's a mass graveyard."

At up to 6 feet long and with a head the size of a toilet lid, the car-sized newt was a lot like a giant crocodile, and was likely among the region's top aquatic predators.

"Most modern amphibians are pretty tiny and harmless. But back in the Triassic, these giant predators would have made lakes and rivers pretty scary places to be," said researcher Richard Butler, of the University of Birmingham in the UK, according to LiveScience.

Brusatte said that the salamander's skull — "circular-shaped with very thin, flat upper and lower jaws" — likely flapped around and caught fish like a butterfly net.

The giant salamanders likely died out along with half of Earth's population at the end of the Triassic period, which made way for the rise of the dinosaurs.

The Associated Press reported that the archeological site was uncovered in 2009, and has taken years to begin digging out. 

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The fossilized remains of a car-sized killer newt were recently found in southern Portugal, archeologists announced this week.
car-sized, killer, newt, salamander
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2015-24-26
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 03:24 PM
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