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Pampaphoneus biccai

16th September, 2023 Environment

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  • In a new study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers reveal the discovery of a 265-million-year-old, preserved fossil species, Pampaphoneus biccai. It has been found in the rural area of São Gabriel, Southern Brazil.
  • 40 million years before the age of dinosaurs Pampaphoneus biccai roamed South America as the biggest and most dangerous predator of its time.

All about Pampaphoneus biccai

  • Pampaphoneus, belongs to the early therapsid clade called dinocephalians.
  • Dinocephalians lived just before the largest extinction event in the history of Earth that eliminated 86% of all animal species worldwide.
  • Before the extinction event, dinocephalians were one of the major groups of large terrestrial animals that thrived on land.
  • They were medium to large-sized creatures with both carnivorous and herbivorous representatives.
  • Dinocephalians had thick cranial bones, which led to the group's name which translates to "terrible head" in Greek.
  • While well-known in South Africa and Russia, these animals are rare in other parts of the world.
  • Pampaphoneus biccai is the only known species in Brazil.
  • “Pampaphoneus played the same ecological role as modern big cats.
  • The animal had large, sharp canine teeth adapted for capturing prey.
  • Its dentition and cranial architecture suggest that its bite was strong enough to chew bones, much like modern-day hyenas.
  • Researchers estimate that the largest Pampaphoneus individuals could reach nearly three meters in length and weigh around 400kg. It was a skilled predator capable of feeding on small to medium-sized animals.


Q. Recently Pampaphoneus biccai was in news. What is it?

1.    Dinosaur

2.    Ancient Oak Tree

3.    Dinocephalian

4.    Sturgeon

Answer: 3. Dinocephalian