The fossilized lower jawbone of a new genus of “bear dog” was discovered in the French Pyrenees, according to a study published in mid-June.
The beasts dominated as predators in Asia, southern Africa, Europe, and North America over 7.5 million years ago, Live Science reported Thursday. Though the bear dog is not directly related to dogs or bears, the massive animals look like an amalgamation of both, according to the outlet.
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The latest genus of bear dog, Tartarocyon, takes its scientific name from Tartaro, a mythological Basque cyclops giant that ate children, Live Science continued. The most “striking” feature of the latest discovery are the teeth, which were so large and strong that researchers believe they were likely for “bone-crushing,” the study’s lead author, Floreal Sole, told the outlet. (RELATED: Largest Ever Florida Python Discovered, And The Contents Of Its Stomach Will Blow Your Mind)
While most bear dogs discovered weighed between 20 to 705 pounds, the newest beast is estimated to weigh roughly 441 pounds, making it one of the bigger of the species, according to Live Science. Other features in the fossil suggest that the genus may have been geographically separated from other bear dogs during the Miocene Epoch between 23 million and 5.3 million years ago, the outlet continued.
Various types of bear dogs found by scientists in North America were as small as a Chihuahua, according to Science.org. The fossils of critters have been found in parts of southern Texas, the outlet noted. It is unclear why they went extinct millions of years ago, Science.org reported.