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Fossils found in museum drawer in Kenya belong to gigantic carnivore

Paleontologists have discovered a new species of meat-eating mammal larger than any big cat stalking the world today. Larger than a polar bear, with a skull as large as that of a rhinoceros and enormous piercing canine teeth, this massive carnivore would have been an intimidating part of the eastern African ecosystems occupied by early apes and monkeys. In a new study, the scientists name Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, a gigantic carnivore known from most of its jaw, portions of its skull and parts of its skeleton. The 22-million-year-old fossils were unearthed in Kenya decades ago as researchers canvassed the region searching for evidence of ancient apes. Specimens were placed in a drawer at the National Museums of Kenya and not given a great deal of attention until researchers rediscovered them, recognizing their significance. Shown here: Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, a gigantic carnivore and hyaenodont that was larger than a polar bear.

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