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Massive Salamander Fossil The Size Of A Car Discovered In Portugal

A huge amphibian that lived more than 220 million years ago was discovered in a lake in Portugal that scientists estimate was the size of a small car

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A huge amphibian that lived more than 220 million years ago was discovered in a lake in Portugal that scientists estimate was the size of a small car and had a mouth full of teeth. 


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The salamander-like amphibian was two meters (6.5 feet) in length and probably lived a lot like a crocodile, according to Dr. Steve Brussate, the University of Edinburgh paleontologist who led the research on the massive beast. The paper on this massive amphibian can be researched on the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology website

"It's one of those creatures from the distant past that looks like an alien – but it actually has quite a lot of relevance,” Brussate told the BBC. “These kind of big amphibians were the ancestral stock that modern frogs, salamanders and newts came from."

Metoposaurus algarvensis sat at the top of the food chain and had hundreds of sharp teeth and a big flat head. The amphibian lived during the late Triassic period and tended to dominate the smaller dinosaurs and mammals that lived during that time in history, Brussate told the BBC. 

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Today the largest salamanders, the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) can grow to five feet in length, while its cousin, the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) that can grow to six feet in length. Most salamanders are less than a foot in length depending on the species. 


John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a kingsnake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata