Paleontologists working in Tanzania have identified a new species of hyaenodont, a type of extinct meat-eating mammal. The newly discovered animal is called Pakakali rukwaensis, the name derived from the Swahili term "pakakali," meaning "fierce cat," and "rukwaensis," the word for the Rukwa Rift region of the Great Rift Valley in southwestern Tanzania. Between 23 and 25 million years ago, newcomers arrived in Africa--the first relatives of modern dogs, cats and hyenas--where they coexisted with hyaenodonts for millions of years. Shown here: The East African Rift Valley, where the scientists conducted their field research.
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