Space & Science

The mammalian ancestor looked like a chubby lizard with a small head and had a hippopotamus-like lifestyle

An animal that lived before the dinosaurs looked like a round lizard with a very small head and had a semi-aquatic lifestyle similar to that of a hippopotamus, according to fossils recently discovered in France.

The amphibian animal, which represents a previously unknown genus and species of mammal ancestor, was about 12 feet (4 meters) long, researchers reported in the October issue of the journal. Paleo Vertebrates, published online in July. They dubbed the new species Lalieudorhynchus gandi; he lived about 265 million years ago on the pangea supercontinent, just before the age of the dinosaurs.

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