Oldest and largest predator in South America discovered with 265-million-year-old fossil

Researchers have discovered a fossil that has revealed what is now being called the largest and oldest predator ever to roam South America.

Published
Updated
1 minute & 8 seconds read time

A team of researchers has uncovered a fossil that has revealed a species of meat eater that absolutely dominated South America.

Oldest and largest predator in South America discovered with 265-million-year-old fossil 2544

The discovery has been detailed in a recent study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, and stems from a 265-million-year-old fossil that was in São Gabriel, Southern Brazil. The fossil was from a species called Pampaphoneus biccai and is the skull of the extinct apex predator. According to the researchers, this species was present just before the extinction-level event that wiped out an estimated 86% of all species on Earth.

However, before the meteor that pushed the already failing dinosaurs to extinction, the Pampaphoneus thrived on both the land and other animals as it was a herbivore and carnivore. Researchers estimate that it was medium to large in size, with the largest estimates putting the Pampaphoneus at a maximum size of 10 feet long at a weight of 880 pounds. The Pampaphoneus skull indicates the species was equipped with razor-sharp canine teeth designed for capturing prey.

Oldest and largest predator in South America discovered with 265-million-year-old fossil 965

"This animal was a gnarly-looking beast, and it must have evoked sheer dread in anything that crossed its path. Its discovery is key to providing a glimpse into the community structure of terrestrial ecosystems just prior to the biggest mass extinction of all time. A spectacular find that demonstrates the global importance of Brazil's fossil record," said lead author Mateus A. Costa Santos, a graduate student in the Paleontology Laboratory at the Federal University of Pampa (UNIPAMPA).

Buy at Amazon

Godfall - PlayStation 5 Standard Edition

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$8.59$8.59$8.54
Buy at Newegg
$70.99$70.99$70.99
* Prices last scanned on 7/12/2024 at 1:36 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.
NEWS SOURCES:phys.org, doi.org

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags