EXPERTS have identified a new sabre-tooth predator that may have had a taste for rhinos more than 40million years ago.
The early meat-eating beast is part of a mysterious group of animals called Machaeroidines which scientists know little about.
And it's all thanks to a fossil found by a 12-year-old in California way back in 1988.
A team were able to study the lower jaw and teeth, as well as sophisticated 3D-modeling, to work out its origin.
The creature would have lurked through the rainforest with "big, slicing, scissoring teeth" perfect for munching on fresh meat.
"We know so little about Machaeroidines, so every new discovery greatly expands our picture of them," explained Dr Shawn Zack, from the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Read more science stories
Mega-rare preserved dinosaur baby INSIDE egg found after 66million years
Date dinosaur-killing asteroid smashed into Earth is pinpointed by scientists
"This relatively complete, well-preserved Diegoaelurus fossil is especially useful because the teeth let us infer the diet and start to understand how Machaeroidines are related to each other."
Machaeroidines are the oldest known sabre-toothed mammalian carnivores scientists are aware of.
But they're so elusive that only 14 specimens have been uncovered before now.
It was a beast that absolutely loved meat, which formed over 70% of its diet.
Most read in News Tech
Inside Ukraine’s 'cheap and slow' drones destroying Russian armour
New iPhone is getting HUGE change – leaving buyers with tricky decision to make
Asteroid the size of a Boeing 747 to zip past Earth today in 'close approach'
Warning as millions of iPhones targeted by hackers – how to stay safe
Today, they're completely extinct of course and are not closely related to living carnivores.
The full name scientists have given the creature is a bit of a mouthful: Diegoaelurus vanvalkenburghae.
But there's meaning behind it – it's a blend of several tributes, including San Diego County where it was found, and scientist Blaire Van Valkenburgh, whose work on the evolution of carnivores influenced their research.
The paper was published in the PeerJ journal.
In other news, prudish Nasa has admitted it may have to study sex in space if humanity is ever going to make it to other planets.
An ancient mega-landslide deep under the ocean has been uncovered which could cause a massive tsunami with "just a little shake in the wrong place".
Read More on The Sun
Sky turns ORANGE & ‘blood rain’ to fall as Saharan dust cloud blankets Britain
Chilling moment Russian TV discusses plans to invade Baltic states after Ukraine
Samsung has been accused of throttling the performance of more than 10,000 apps running on its latest smartphone.
And Nasa will let you send your name on a flight around the Moon – for FREE.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article