A lion is the most effective predator

Up to 1500 kilograms in weight : Discovered one of the greatest predators in history

In Kenya, researchers have discovered one of the largest carnivorous mammals that has ever lived on earth. The lion-like animal was probably up to 1,500 kilograms and "possibly larger than a polar bear," reported researchers around Matthew Borths from Ohio University in the USA.

Accordingly, it was the predominant carnivore in the area and was likely able to hunt animals that resemble today's elephants and hippos. It lived around 23 million years ago in Eurasia, North America and parts of Africa and the Arab world.

The new species was named Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, as the scientists write in the "Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology". In the Swahili language, which is widespread in East Africa, “Simba” means “lion”, “kubwa” means “big” and “kutokaafrika” means “from Africa”.

The animal was identified based on an incomplete lower jaw as well as teeth and bone fragments. These were excavated decades ago in the Meswa Bridge site in western Kenya. According to the researchers, the animal was not related to today's big cats, but belonged to an extinct group of mammals.

For a long time it was believed that the find belonged to a smaller species. According to the researchers, the new investigations at the National Museum of Nairobi showed that it is a new species of animal. The teeth and bone fragments probably came from a young male animal. The researchers determine the age by the fact that the teeth are remarkably little worn.

The scientists believe that the size of the animal had something to do with its surroundings. Changes in nature during this time allowed larger herbivores to live on earth, the researchers explained. These in turn could be hunted by larger carnivores. Large carnivores like Zimbakubwa therefore existed for millions of years. (dpa)

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page