Ohio University biologist Nancy Stevens was looking through a drawer of a wooden container at a museum in Kenya when she saw a piece of rock with extremely large teeth.
She knew immediately she had come across something important.
The "rock" and other things she found were overlooked fossils. They were stored at the National Museums of Kenya, in the capital city of Nairobi. The fossils came from one of the largest meat-eating mammals ever to walk the Earth.
They belonged to an animal known as Simbakubwa kutokaafrika. It lived in Africa 22 million years ago.
Stevens came across the fossils in 2010. This month, she and co-writer Matthew Borths published their research about the animal in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The animal was bigger than any meat-eating mammal alive today. Its skull was the size of a rhino's skull. Its teeth were as large as bananas. It weighed about one ton and was 2.5 meters long.
According to the research, the fossils were found around 1980 in western Kenya. But, they were never closely examined.
Stevens said, Most of the specimens that I study are quite small, so you can imagine my surprise when I opened a drawer that I hadn't examined yet, and saw the enormous teeth.
Simbakubwa was a member of an animal group that appeared 62 million years ago. That was about 4 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs, which created an environment for mammals to take over. The animal came before meat-eating cats and wolves.
It became extinct about 9 million years ago, researchers say.
Simbakubwa's name means "big lion" in the Swahili language. However, it is not a cat. It was the largest animal hunter in its ecosystem, and was probably the largest meat-eating land mammal in Africa up to that time.
I'm Susan Shand.
1. belong to 属于
You belong to us.
2. enormous adj. 巨大的，庞大的
The team made an enormous effort.
这块石头和她发现的其他一些东西都是未得到重视的化石 。这些物品储藏在肯尼亚国家博物馆里，这座博物馆位于首都内罗比 。这些化石都来自于一种大型食肉都动物，曾经在地球上存在过 。
史蒂文斯是在2010年发现这些化石的 。本月，她和马修一起发表了关于该动物的研究成果，刊登在了《古脊椎动物学杂志》上 。
该动物比如今最大的食肉哺乳动物都要大 。其头盖骨的大小和犀牛的头盖骨差不多 。它的牙齿跟香蕉一样大 。体重大概有1吨左右，伸长有2.5米 。
该研究指出，这些化石是1980年左右在肯尼亚西部发现的 。不过，这些化石从未得到过仔细的研究 。
非洲巨狮是6200万年前的一类物种 。这是在恐龙灭绝大概400万年后出现的物种 。恐龙的灭绝创造出了一个环境，让其他哺乳动物可以生存 。这类动物出现的时间早于食肉动物猫和狼 。
Simbakubwa在斯瓦希里语里的意思是“雄狮” 。不过，它并不属于猫科 。它是自己所属的生态系统中体型最大的狩猎者，也可能是其非洲同时期以前最大的肉食类陆地哺乳动物 。