The orig­i­nal Scar­face had teeth that de­liv­ered poi­son

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

The fos­sil of an ex­tinct preda­tor, which re­searchers have called “Scar­face”, has re­cently been dis­cov­ered.

The reptile is be­lieved to have roamed the earth be­fore di­nosaurs. It was the size of a small dog and killed its prey with a poi­sonous bite, sci­en­tists think.

Bri­tain’s Daily Mail re­ported that the crea­ture – named Ichiben­gops, which trans­lates into scar­face – was an early an­ces­tor of the first mam­mals that lived in Zam­bia about 225 mil­lion years ago.

Palaeon­tol­o­gists found grooves above its teeth that they think may have been used to in­ject venom into vic­tims. They say the fos­sil could pro­vide clues about the evo­lu­tion of early mam­mals and how they were able to sur­vive at a time when the world was dom­i­nated by gi­ant di­nosaurs.

Lead re­searcher Dr Ken­neth Angiel­czyk of the Field Mu­seum in Chicago said: “One in­ter­est­ing fea­ture about this species is the pres­ence of grooves above its teeth, which may have been used to trans­mit venom.”

This led sci­en­tists to the name, which con­sists of the word for scar in the Bemba lan­guage, ichibenga, and the an­cient Greek word for face, ops.

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