A not-so-adorable salamander-like amphibian ruled the shores during the Late Triassic Period.
The Metoposaurus algarvensis was “as long as a small car and had hundreds of sharp teeth in its big flat head, which kind of looks like a toilet seat when the jaws snap shut,” according to CBS News.
The Metoposaurus was a major predator of the early dinosaurs, living long before the T. rex and even the massive Brachiosaurus.
Fossils belonging to the metoposaurid species have been found in Africa, Europe, India, and even North America, but this the first time remnants have been unearthed in the Iberian Peninsula, specifically Portugal. Metoposaurids are distant ancestors of modern-day amphibians, like newts and frogs.
The species became extinct when the climate began to change, just before the breaking up of Pangaea, which also led to huge volcanic eruptions.
“It didn’t just break up overnight. It took tens of millions of years and it broke up along the margins of the Atlantic Ocean today,” he said. “Portugal is right on the edge of the Atlantic so these guys would have been living right in the middle of this rift,” according to Steve Brusatte, the study’s lead author from the University of Edinburgh’s School.
[via CBS News]