For the first time, paleontologists from the United States and South Africa have discovered in South Africa the remains of the bones of foreigners – one of the species of saber-toothed animal lizards, whose bones were previously found only in Russia. This discovery testifies to the high instability of the Earth’s ecosystems at the end of the Permian epoch.
Synapsid lizards, combining the features of reptiles and mammals, were the dominant animals of the Earth in the Carboniferous and Permian periods. They had advanced anatomy and well-developed dentition, which allowed them to run fast and eat a variety of foods. Many species of these ancient creatures became known to scientists through excavations in Siberia and the Urals. The most “advanced” and largest animal lizards, gorgonopses and therocephalians, resembled in their anatomy and appearance the saber-toothed tigers of the Ice Age.
Inostrantsevia are large saber-toothed animal lizards, whose remains were first discovered in the north of modern Russia at the end of the 19th century. For a long time it was believed that these animal lizards are not found outside of Russia, since the remains of animal lizards similar to them could not be found in the sediments of the Permian era in other regions of the Earth.
However, American and South African paleontologists have proved the fallacy of these ideas in the course of studying finds made several years ago during excavations near the Neutgedacht farm in southern South Africa. These fossils were kept for a long time in the National Museum of South Africa in Bloemfontein. Recently, paleontologists began to catalog the bones of ancient animal lizards, as a result of which it was found that many of them did not look like the remains of gorgonops from the subfamily Rubidgeinae. Their representatives lived in this era on the territory of South Africa.
Scientists studied the structure of the bones and noted that these animal lizards resembled Russian foreigners with a unique incisor structure, unusually large body size and narrow muzzle. The discovery of the remains of aliens at such a great distance from Russia testifies to the high instability of the Earth’s ecosystems at the end of the Permian era. Probably, large predators of this era were most susceptible to extinction in unstable ecosystems, as a result of which they often moved to empty ecological niches in neighboring territories and quickly replaced each other.
At the end of the Permian era, a mass extinction occurred on Earth, which led to the extinction of 95% of animal species. The Permian extinction occurred about 252 million years ago and is considered the largest of all known extinctions in the history of the Earth. The catastrophe was caused by a number of factors, including global warming, changes in the composition of the atmosphere, and sudden outbreaks of volcanism.
Studying aliens can help scientists understand which animal species replaced each other after extinction and what ecosystems arose in their place. This will provide a more complete picture of how life on Earth changed millions of years ago.