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The skull belonged to Smilodon populator. Extinct for about 10,000 years, the heavily muscled species once Hulk-smashed its way through South American fauna in the Pleistocene. To picture a normal individual, start with an African lion. Then double its size and add giant fangs.

But this one wasn’t normal. The skull was 16 inches long, making previous large specimens from the species look small. “I thought I was doing something wrong,” said Mr. Manzuetti, a doctoral student in paleontology at Uruguay’s University of the Republic. He was using the head to infer the likely size of the animal’s body. “I checked the results a lot of times, and only after doing that I realized I hadn’t made any mistakes.”

Read more on The New York Times:

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