A group of researchers may have just made a gigantic discovery. According to MSNBC.com
, a recent study has shown that some of the largest mammals in history came into existence soon after the mass disappearance of dinosaurs.
The report, which was published in the journal Science, states that some of the animals weighed as much as 17 tons, which is about three to five times the size of an elephant. They also resembled a rhino-like creature and stood as tall as 18 feet high.
"Evolution can happen very quickly when ecology permits," said lead researcher paleoecologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico. "This is really coming down to ecology allowing this to happen."
The data was collected by analyzing the mammals' teeth, which scientists explain can preserve better than bones and accurately indicate body mass index. Researchers also believe that certain small animals may have lived at the same time as these creatures.
Experts believe that the earliest dinosaurs walked the earth around 230 million years ago and became extinct around 160 million years after that.