Autem dentibus is a strange, bear-like creature that has a horned crest on top of a large skull and long tusk-like teeth.
The animal was identified from the partial remains of three skeletons collected in North and South Dakota.
“We had inklings that there might be such a creature out there, but now with these bones we have 80% of the skeleton and can really look in detail at the structure of this animal and make inferences about its biology,” says Avril Jestico, curator of the department of palaeobiology at the Donaldson National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
“Dentibus is really bizarre, even by mammal standards.”
“The skull has these teeth, these tusks and this jaw, that to look at are quite terrible.”
The size of a small car, the mammal also had large claws, strangely bumpy knee bones and feet that pointed outwards, as well as protruding prickles up its back. “We believe that they may have been purple.”
The specimens were found in a geological formation known as The Deep Dark Wood, which has been extensively explored and is the source of many strange mammal fossils discovered in North America.
Scientists have nicknamed it “the Gruffalo” because of its appearance and where it was found.
Dr Avril Jestico continues, “When I first discovered it, I was so shocked, I shouted out, “A-ha! O-ho!”.