Look: Chunky, prehistoric "hippo" lived before the dinosaurs

Meet Lalieudorhynchus, a distant relative of today’s mammals.

A chunky brown Lalieudorhynchus with a small head swims in the water (artist's impression)
Frederik Spindler

Sergey Krasovskiy/Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Before the dinosaurs, Earth was home to strange, reptile-looking creatures called synapsids that roamed the land on four legs.

Though some look reminiscent of crocodiles and turtles, they’re actually the early ancestors of today’s mammals.

And a newly discovered synapsid species unearthed in France may have lived like a mammal we see today.

Romano, Marco, Ronchi, Ausonio, Maganuco, Simone, and Nicosia, Umberto. 2017 via Wikimedia Commons