There’s a new Scarface in town. Scientists at the Field Museum recently identified a new species of “premammal” that roamed what is now Zambia 255 million years ago. Two skulls belonging to Ichibengops—the name fuses a tribal word for “scar” (ichibenga) with the Greek suffix for “face” (ops)—were unearthed in 2009. But it’s taken until now to classify them. Say hello to your new little friend.
1. Why “Scarface”? Because of the craggy indentation on its upper jaw.
2. Similar critters used a groove like this to shoot venom through their canine teeth.
3. Rock that hasn’t been chipped away yet.
4. Next step: Do a CT scan to see if channels run from the jaw groove to pits in the skull that could have held venom.
5. A bony palate separates the mouth and nose. That means Scarface could probably breathe and chew at the same time—like mammals do.
6. The actual size is comparable to a dachshund’s.