Scientists discover strikingly fast 'prehistoric killing machine'

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By , RADIO.COM

A recently discoverd beast that roamed the Earth long before dinosaurs were around - about 30 million years before, to be exact - has been found to be an extremely fast predator.

The big-jawed Anteosaurus was originally thought to be on the slower side due to its size, with some researchers assuming that the creature may have lived in water to account for its weight, CNET reports.

However, recent studies show that the Anteosaurus was actually likely a very fast predator and has been described by the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa as "a ferocious hunter-killer."

The creature, which was about the size of a hippopotamus, is also described as a "mammal-like reptile." They lived in Africa about 260 million years ago and died out about 30 million years before the first dinosaurs.

"In creating the most complete reconstruction of an Anteosaurus skull to date, we found that overall, the nervous system of Anteosaurus was optimized and specialized for hunting swiftly and striking fast, unlike what was previously believed," paleontologist Ashley Kruger said.

Kruger was a co-author of a paper on the Anteosaurus that was published online last month in the Acta Paleontologica Polonica journal.

The study has shown how using computers to reconstruct the discovered creatures can tell a lot about how the creatures once lived.

"Even though Anteosaurus lived 200 million years before the famous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex, Anteosaurus was definitely not a 'primitive' creature, and was nothing short of a mighty prehistoric killing machine," said study co-author Julien Benoit.

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