Today, hyenas, and elephants, and tigers, known as long-time residents of Savannah. However, a new discovery of paleontologists from the United States and Canada have shown that about 1.4 million years ago these predators lived even in the Arctic, along with mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. This became known thanks to a pair discovered in the 1970-ies the fangs that were studied only half a century later. Between the modern hyenas and their Arctic ancestors, of course, there were great differences — just like modern saber-toothed tigers and their cousins.
Two teeth of ancient hyenas were discovered in 1974 and 1977 in the basin of the old crow, a paleontologist by the name of the Brand Bebe. She could not exactly determine the gender of a hyena, and appealed for help to his colleague, björn Courten, however, both paleontologist died before he could publish the results of their work. Decades later manuscripts of scientists was discovered by one of the former students Cortina Lars of Verdelin, who continued the work of his teacher along with his colleagues Jack Denom and Grant Zazula.
Millions of years ago in the Arctic lived hyenas
To determine that the detected teeth belonged to the species hyena Chasmaporthetes ossifragus, scientists took only a few hours. They found that the predators lived about 1.4 million years and were common — they lived in the territories from Central America to the Arctic. Unlike modern hyenas, they were slimmer and were covered with a thicker and a light layer of fur.
According to paleontologist Grant has Zezula, it is interesting to imagine the hyenas, which can live in harsh Arctic conditions. Likely, the predators hunted reindeer, and ate carrion and the meat of dead mammoths. They are the only representatives of the genus, which managed to move from Eurasia to North America. Perhaps, overcoming the of the way was committed by several generations of hyenas.
Why open a paleontologists so rare?
This way it could be done and other animals, but paleontologists have simply not yet found their remains, or just do not have time to study them. Many findings of paleontologists may lie in museums for decades, and Grant Zazula explained by the fact that the team in one summer can detect up to 10 000 remains. Quickly learn all these finds are impossible, so even the first remains of extinct hyena Chasmaporthetes 1901 and 1904 was identified only 20 years later.
The remains of a dinosaur, decorated with precious stones, too, were identified many years after their discovery. The fossils were found in 1984 by Australian opal miner Robert foster, and only decades later they were studied by specialists. Read more about how the bones were decorated with precious stones, can be read in our material.
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