Dinosaurs living more than 200 million years ago may have dominated the plains and grasslands of prehistoric Earth, but they still have some significant competition.
Scientists have uncovered the discovery of a giant reptile, like elephant-sized mammals, that they think shoulders shoulders with large trias of dinosaurs, including relatives of sauropods, such as Dididocus and Brahiosaurus.
Researchers from Polish and Swedish universities have said that the 10-ton creatures, the distant "cousin" of today's mammals, have prompted the idea that dinosaurs are the only large terrestrial animals at a time when the Earth had a vast earth mass known as Pangea.
They discovered fossil remains belonging to the previously unknown species of dicinon, grazing animals ranging in size from small beetles to large grazing plants, and which were predominantly toothless.
All mammals, including humans, originate from dicinonides, regardless of their origin from reptiles.
They manage to survive the mass extinction, known as the "Great Mind" about 250 million years ago, which killed 90 percent of the species on Earth.
But it was thought that the Dynonnotes had disappeared before the late Triassic period, during which time dinosaurs became the dominant earthly being.
The analysis of the bones of the limbs, found in the Polish village of Lysuvice, shows that the creature – the Lysavice rich – lived about 210-205 million years ago – about 10 million years later than the previous discoveries of dicinonides.
"The discovery of Lissovision changes our ideas for the latest story of mammalian pain relatives, and it also raises much more questions about what the dinosaurs really do," said Tomas Sulay of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who works on the study.
"Such an important new species is a discovery that has ever been in life." The study, published in the journal science, said Lisowicia would have been 40% larger than any other previously identified.
"Dicinonones are amazingly successful animals in the Middle and the Triassic," said Gregor Nedjievski of Sweden's Uppsala University.
"Lissovision is extremely exciting because it blows holes in many of our classic reptile ideas, like Triassic mammals."