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Science. 2019 Jan 4;363(6422):78-80. doi: 10.1126/science.aal4853. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

An elephant-sized Late Triassic synapsid with erect limbs.

Author information

Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18A, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


Here, we describe the dicynodont Lisowicia bojani, from the Late Triassic of Poland, a gigantic synapsid with seemingly upright subcursorial limbs that reached an estimated length of more than 4.5 meters, height of 2.6 meters, and body mass of 9 tons. Lisowicia is the youngest undisputed dicynodont and the largest nondinosaurian terrestrial tetrapod from the Triassic. The lack of lines of arrested growth and the highly remodeled cortex of its limb bones suggest permanently rapid growth and recalls that of dinosaurs and mammals. The discovery of Lisowicia overturns the established picture of the Triassic megaherbivore radiation as a phenomenon restricted to dinosaurs and shows that stem-group mammals were capable of reaching body sizes that were not attained again in mammalian evolution until the latest Eocene.

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