An international team of researchers has found evidence showing that the ancient meat-eating creature Vjushkovia triplicostata had a proportionally larger head than any known dinosaur.
In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group described the animal as a Komodo dragon-like creature, and identified it as a type of giant lizards found in Indonesia. The study also found that the Vjushkovia triplicostata would have had a length of approximately three meters.
The studied animal was discovered in Russia. It is a "Garjainia", a kind that belongs to the "Erythrosuchidae" family, which also includes another kind named the Garjainia prima found in South Africa.
The Erythrosuchids family is also known as the "red crocodiles", given their long bodies and huge, sharp teeth. In former studies, researchers had focused on the "Garjainia prima", while few papers examined the "Vjushkovia triplicostata. To fill the void, the researchers explored the fossilized skull found in Russia.
In a report published by the Science X Network website, Richard Butler, of the University of Birmingham, said: "We found that this animal and the other family member ‘Garjainia prima’ had some of the largest heads compared to any known reptile. Its length is about three meters, similar to the modern Komodo dragon."
The researchers plan to take a closer look at the rest of the fossilized body, hoping to better understand why these creatures had such large heads."
"We believe that their large heads had grown as part of the overall development of their bodies. It may also be part of the natural adaptation to help these animals eat meat, since large heads feature huge, proportionate muscles that allow them to catch the prey," suggested Butler.