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Scientists discover fossils of two new 'monstrous' species of sabre-toothed predators in Russia; The fossils were both found near the town of Kotelnich along the Vyatka River in European Russia.

Byline: Shivali Best

Scientists have discovered fossils of two new species ofsabre-toothed predators, that could help to improve our understanding of the early evolution of mammals.

The fossils were both found near the town of Kotelnich along the Vyatka River in European Russia.

The first, which the researchers have dubbed 'Gorynychus masyutinae', was a wolf-sized carnivore, while the second, named 'Nochnitsa geminidens', was a smaller, long-snouted carnivore with needle-like teeth.

Both new species are named after legendary monsters from Russian folklore, due to their 'menacing' appearances.

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The findings help to improve scientists' understanding of the early evolution of mammals after the mid-Permian extinction, around 260 million years ago.

The researchers suggest that in the late Permian ecosystem, giant, tiger-sized sabre-toothed predators dominated over

But by the mid-Permian, smaller carnivores dominated.

Christian Kammerer, who led the study, said: "In between these extinctions, there was a complete flip-flop in what roles these carnivores were playing in their ecosystems - as if bears suddenly became weasel-sized and weasels became bear-sized in their place.

"Kotelnich is one of the most important localities worldwide for finding therapsid fossils - not only because they are amazingly complete and well-preserved there, but also because they provide an all-too-rare window into mammal ancestry in the Northern Hemisphere during the Permian."

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Credit: Matt Celeskey

An artist's impression of the two new species

Credit: Christian Kammerer

The fossils were both found near the town of Kotelnich along the Vyatka River in European Russia

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Title Annotation:Science
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jun 8, 2018
Words:263
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