Animal’s Daily Ferocious Beasts News

Image from the article.

Be sure to check out an epilogue to my bolt guns series over at Glibertarians, this one devoted to a guy who forever changed the bolt gun market in the post-World War II world: The Marvelous Mr. Weatherby.

In the meantime, check this out:  In Kenya, about 22 million years ago, there was a creodont predator the size of a rhino, with jaws that could crush bone.  Excerpt:

Researchers are calling the newfound meat eater Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, Swahili for “big lion from Africa.” But it was much larger than a modern lion, said study co-researcher Matt Borths, curator of the Division of Fossil Primates at the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina.

“Part of the reason we named it ‘big lion’ in Swahili is because it would have played a lion-like role in its ancient ecosystem,” Borths told Live Science in an email. When it was hungry, S. kutokaafrika didn’t hold back. “Animals that might have been on the menu were anthracotheres (hippo relatives that were lankier than their modern cousins), elephant relatives and giant hyraxes (today, hyraxes look like grumpy rabbits, but in the past they filled zebra and antelope niches in Africa).”

Besides looking like a warg, S. kutokaafrika would seem weird by today’s standards, Borths said.

“Compared to modern carnivorous mammals, its head would have looked a little too big for its body, like a very toothy Funko Pop figure,” he said.

It should be noted that this critter was no lion.  The creodonts, of which the hyaenadonts were a branch, were primitive predatory mammals not particularly closely related to cats or canids.  But that head – creodonts were known for robust jaws and crushing teeth, leading to the conclusion that they could eat almost everything on a carcass, even down to crushing heavy bones for their marrow.

But most of the reconstructions of the various hyaenadonts have shown a head that, while massive, is strangely ratlike in profile.  The critter described here appears to be no exception.

It’s a neat find, and further evidence that nature is not only weirder than we imagine, it is weirder than we can imagine.