Researchers in Russia and North Carolina have detailed the discovery of fossils containing the fossilized remains of two saber-tooth protomammal predators. The fossils, which reveal two new saber-tooth species, were discovered in Russia and help scientists understand the evolution of these mammals.
The fossils have been detailed by researchers with Russia’s Vyatka Paleontological Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The fossils date back to the Permian Period and are of particular relevance to researchers due to their existence outside of South Africa where most of these fossils are found.
The fossils were found near the Russian city of Kotelnich. According to researchers, one contains the fossilized remains of Nochnitsa geminidens, a somewhat small carnivore with a long snout and needle-like teeth. The other is called Gorynychus masyutinae and is another carnivore, this one the size of a wolf and the largest predator found in that region.
Though other fossils with potentially new species have been discovered in Russia from this time period, they haven’t yet been detailed. Of note, the discovery of these fossils in Russia help reveal the evolution of protomammals during the mid-Permian period mass extinction, which helped shape the course of protomammal — and mammal — evolution.
The researchers describe appearances for both predators that are quite frightening, including large eye sockets on one fossil that hint at excellent night vision abilities. For this reason, both new species were named after monsters found in Russian folklore.