Appearances can be deceptive.
This saber-tooth creature, the size of a large dog, is a 260-million-year-old vegetarian. Although usually these type of teeth are found in carnivores, these teeth might have been used to deter predators or intimidate same-species rivals.
"If you asked me how surprised I was about finding this fossil, I can tell you that finding a fossil so bizarre as Tiarajudens eccentricus, a fossil that looks like if it has been made from parts of different animals, is like finding a unicorn... You see it, but you don't believe it." said vertebrate paleontologist Juan Carlos Cisneros at the Federal University of Piauí in Teresina, Brazil.- Odd Saber-Toothed Beast Discovered—Preyed on ... Plants? "It takes some time to believe it when you see this animal," researcher says.National Geographic>>
- Odd Ancient Beast Was Saber-Toothed Vegetarian. LiveScience>>
- Tiarajudens eccentricus illustration by Juan Cisneros, Science/AAAS