Groundbreaking Fossil Shows What A Pig From The Age Of Dinosaurs Would Have Looked Like
According to the researchers, the fossils discovered in the Karoo desert represent an extremely rare find because it turns out that a few of the dead Lystrosaurus retained parts of their skin on them.
Lystrosaurus was an amazing survivor
Eleven years have passed since the discovery of the first Lystrosaurus fossil in the Karoo desert. A total of 170 prehistoric specimens have been found at the site since then, including the remains of eight Lystrosaurus. Amazingly, two of these animals were found buried with parts of their skin intact even after millions of years after their death.
Extremely dry conditions like drafts are thought to have caused the death and rapid fossilization of the discovered Lystrosaurus. However, it was because of the dryness that parts of their skin dried out so much that they mummified along with the bones. Fossils from the Karoo Desert suggest that many Lystrosaurus may have congregated there in search of food and water before they died.
One of the most fascinating things about Lystrosaurus as a species is that it had both mammalian and reptilian characteristics. This is why they are classified as Therapsids, direct ancestors of mammals, also called protomammals.
Interestingly, the species also managed to survive a large catastrophic event during its existence. For example, researchers claim that 252 years ago more than 70% of land animals on Earth became extinct due to large-scale extinction events primarily triggered by the eruption of large volcanoes in Siberia.
Mass extinction couldn’t kill them, but hunger and thirst did
Lystrosaurs remained alive long after these events, likely because they hibernated during the period of destruction. They are also considered to be one of the very first animals to have the ability to hibernate. Moreover, Lystrosaurus inhabited not only Africa, but also parts of Asia (India, China) and Antarctica.