Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DinoBlag: Megistotherium

The subject of our latest DinoBlag is an animal which is argued to be the largest mammalian land predator of all time, Megistotherium osteothlastes. Megistotherium is known from several specimens from Libya and Egypt, which date back to the Eocene epoch, 24 million years ago.

Megistotherium is a hyaenodontid, a family of the creodonts, which were a group of large, mammalian carnivores, most with builds similar to those of modern dogs and wolves. Megistotherium was named by Robert Savage in 1973; its full name means, "greatest, bone-crushing beast". It grew up to a staggering 13 feet (4 meters) in length, 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall, and weighed around 1.5 tons. Its teeth were designed for shearing and cutting meat.

Even scarier, mastodon bones found not too far off were found with tooth-marks from Megistotherium, suggesting that the beasts killed and ate the mastodons.

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