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TechnologyResearchers discover ancient giant 'lion' in Kenya

09:33  18 april  2019
09:33  18 april  2019 Source:

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Researchers discover ancient giant 'lion' in Kenya© Mauricio ANTON, Mauricio ANTON A Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, a gigantic mammalian carnivore that lived 22 million years ago in Africa and was larger than a polar bear

A giant lion with enormous fangs that roamed the Kenyan savannah more than 20 million years ago was one of the largest ever meat-eating mammals, researchers said Thursday.

A team unearthed the lower jaw, teeth and other bones of a new species, Simbakubwa kutokaafrika -- Swahili for "big African lion".

They calculated it would have weighed up to 1,500 kilogrammes and could have preyed upon the elephant-like creatures that lived there at the time.

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Scientists in Kenya have found fossil evidence that lions were once much more terrifying than they are today. Skull remains have revealed that lions which resided in east Africa 200,000 years ago were enormous creatures that stood as tall as humans. An international team of researchers from the

The discovery is the largest ever found of the remnants of this extinct creature – researchers speculate the animals might have been sacrifices carried out by ancient civilizations. The lions , along with their prey such as giant deer and bears, were wiped out by the Quaternary Extinction Event.

"Based on its massive teeth, Simbakubwa was a specialised hyper-carnivore that was significantly larger than the modern lion and possibly larger than a polar bear," said Matthew Borths, from Duke University, who co-led the research with Ohio University.

Researchers discover ancient giant 'lion' in Kenya© Jonathan WALTER Factfile on an ancient giant predator that lived 23 million years ago in Africa

An artist's impression of the creature shows a giant big-cat-like hunter with stripey fur and enormous fangs.

The team behind the study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, said Simbakubwa lived in what is modern-day Kenya around 23 million years ago, a key period in the evolution of carnivorous mammals.

They said the discovery could shed light on how supersized predators and prey evolved over millions of years around the end of the Paleogene epoch -- the period where mammals grew from tiny rodents into many diverse species.

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