Part dog, part bear, the Tartarocyon is thought to have gone extinct about 7.5 million years ago
Image: Denny Navarra/Newsflash)
An international team of scientists has identified a part dog, part bear believed to have migrated across Europe millions of years ago.
The ancient predator was named Tartarocyon – a reference to a large, powerful, one-eyed giant from Basque mythology.
The team of experts, led by Bastien Mennecart of the Basel Natural History Museum in Switzerland, made the discovery after examining a fossilized jaw belonging to a new species of “bear dog”.
The species of large carnivore is believed to have weighed up to 320 kilograms and appeared in Europe 36 million years ago before becoming extinct around 7.5 million years ago.
The paleontologist said: “The jawbone comes from 12.8 to 12 million year old marine deposits studied in the small commune of Sallespisse in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department of south-west France.”
They explained that the petrified bone is particularly noticeable because of its teeth.
“Unlike the known Amphicyonidae specimens, this animal has a unique lower fourth premolar.
“This tooth is particularly important for species and genus identification.
“Accordingly, the lower jaw examined probably represents a new genus.
“It’s called Tartarocyon. This name comes from Tartaro, a large, powerful, one-eyed giant from Basque mythology.
“The legend of Tartaro is also known in Bearn, the region where the lower jaw was found.
“Floral Sole, a world-renowned specialist in carnivorous mammals, Jean-Francois Lesport and Antoine Heitz from the Natural History Museum Basel have chosen the name of the new genus.”
The petrified jaw belongs to a group of predators that resembled “a cross between a bear and a large dog known as ‘bear dogs’.”
The scientists added: “They belong to a group of carnivores such as dogs, cats, bears, seals and badgers.
“These predators were a widespread part of the Miocene (23–5.3 million years ago) European fauna.
“They were very species-rich and varied and weighed between 9 kg and 320 kg. Tarataroyon is estimated to weigh 200 kg.
“The last European Amphicyonidae disappeared in the late Miocene 7.5 million years ago.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/enormous-new-predator-dubbed-bear-27253910 Huge new predator named "Bear Dog" that weighed more than 50 stone discovered