100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car

Today, the Chinese giant salamander is considered the largest species of salamander in the world as well as the largest amphibian, up to 180cm long, but in the past, in Antarctica, there was an even larger salamander. they are many.

Referring to amphibians, you will probably think of the beautiful-looking Mexican salamander, which is often found in ornamental fish shops. But they are small animals and seem very weak. But during the Cretaceous period more than 100 million years ago, their relatives living in Antarctica were completely different. This iguana has an extremely large body and can reach a bigger body than the cars.

The Australian continent lies between the boundary of the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, which is also a continent within the ocean. The underground here holds memories of the lives of ancient fossils. There is a Wonthaggi Formation (Wonthaggi Formation) in Victoria, southeastern Australia. Fossils created in this formation represent Australia's paleontological world from the end of the Cretaceous Period 120 to 110 million years ago.

Picture 1 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Paleontologists are unearthing fossils in Victoria.

In 1978, archaeologists discovered a fossilized jawbone of a mysterious species at the Wonthaggi Formation Formation, and then successively, other fossils of the same species. From the appearance of the fossil, paleontologist Warren and his colleagues analyzed and assessed that the fossil belonged to a large amphibian, and named it Koolasuchus in 1997.

The name of Koolasuchus is reserved for paleontologist Lesley Kool. Their names are a play on words. The pronunciation of "Kool" is almost similar to the word "Cool" , which means that the climate in Australia is colder than it is now. The full name of this salamander is Koolasuchus cleelandi with "cleelandi" set aside for geologist Mike Cleeland.

Picture 2 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
The fossilized jawbone of the giant iguana Koolasuchus cleelandi.

Picture 3 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Mike Cleveland is introducing fossils for children.

Picture 4 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Koolasuchus is a genus of Temnospondyli animals (including primitive amphibians) of the Chigutisauridae family. Their fossils were found in Victoria, Australia, dating to 120 million years ago at the beginning of the Cretaceous. Koolasuchus 1 huge amphibian species looks like giant Japanese salamander today.

Picture 5 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Koolasuchus is one of the three largest amphibian species that ever existed on Earth. They are a large predator in the aquatic environment, they have a predator similar to the crocodile is ambush, waiting for prey to come. They have a large and flat head, 4 short legs, between webbed toes and a large, paddle-like tail. Their jaws have many pointed teeth, suitable for eating fish and smaller amphibians.

Koolasuchus is a big guy with a body length of up to 5 meters, as long as a BMW 7 Series. Meanwhile, this amphibian is only 0.6 meters high and weighs about 500kg, in fact they are not very heavy when compared to the length of the body. Koolasuchus's head is flat and large, semicircular. The whole head is 0.65 meters long and 0.5 meters wide. A pair of round black eyes is on the top of the head and they have a large mouth with sharp, needle-like teeth inside.

Picture 6 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Koolasuchus was one of the last surviving representatives of the genus Temnospondyli when their relatives in the genus Temnospondyli were almost extinct by the end of the Three Gorges.

Behind the head of this giant amphibian is an unusually thin body and then a tail shaped like a fin. Owning such a big head will make people think that this is a deformed creature. They have rather slender limbs on either side of the body, so they function like this and cannot support them during land movements.

Koolasuchus is an amphibian that has no scales or feathers, whose skin is covered with a special layer of mucus and is relatively common in amphibians such as modern frogs.

From the outside, it seems that Koolasuchus is just an enlarged salamander in size, but in fact, they are not as gentle as modern salamanders, instead they are extremely aggressive. and have predatory habits like crocodiles today.

Picture 7 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
They are very aggressive, not gentle like modern salamanders.

Many will be curious. Koolasuchus is found in Australia, but why is it said that this is a giant salamander in Antarctica? To answer this question we must go back in time, back to Earth 100 million years ago. The position of the continents at that time was different from today. The Australian continent is connected to the south of the Antarctic continent, that is, it is within the Antarctic circle.

Picture 8 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
The ancient Australian continent was connected to the south of the Antarctic continent.

Although the Australian continent is located in Antarctica, Antarctica in the Cretaceous period is very different from today's cold place in the southernmost part of the Earth. The Antarctic region in the Cretaceous period is covered by large forests, the climate is quite warm and humid and there are many diverse dinosaurs such as Fulgurotherium, Qantassaurus, Serendipaceratops. .

Although Antarctica in the Cretaceous has a better climate and weather than today, the polar nights still appear when winter comes, the darkness will cover here for a few months and the temperature will drop below. 0 degrees Celsius. When snow falls, the Antarctic dinosaurs will try to reduce their energy consumption to the lowest possible level, and the giant iguana Koolasuchus will find a place to hibernate, waiting for spring to come.

The Koolasuchus spends most of its life in fresh water areas like rivers and lakes, and sometimes it gets ashore to sunbathe. For these giant salamanders, the small fish and shrimp species that live in the bottom of fresh water are not enough to satisfy their hunger, so most of their prey comes from the mainland.

Picture 9 of 100 million years ago, Antarctica once existed a giant iguana larger than a car
Koolasuchus spends most of his life in fresh water areas like rivers and lakes .

It can be said that the hunting flavor of Koolasuchus iguana is quite similar to modern crocodiles , and they are considered a master of ambush, the giant iguana will lurk in the shallow water, and use eyes on top of the head to look at the surrounding prey. When small dinosaurs and other animals came near the area to drink water, they would suddenly jump out of hiding and use their powerful jaws like nails to bite and pull prey down. water surface.

Scientists believe that the warm climate has caused them to thrive for a long time, but when the climate in the area began to warm, large crocodiles may have migrated into the area. this. Crocodiles are better at hunting fish and shellfish than Koolasuchus. Therefore, crocodiles will compete strongly with them and this will eventually lead to the extinction of the species Koolasuchus.

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