It looks like a strange prehistoric being or a fantasy monster, but the giant salamander found by chance in the waters of a Chongqing cave in China is definitely real. 1.4 meters long and weighing 52 kilos, the amphibian at risk of extinction of the Andrias davidianus family was transported to a research center to be protected and studied.

In spite of the extra large size, the real surprising datum would be age: scientists claim that the animal could be around 200 years old, 150 more than the average life of the captive-kept specimens. "I studied zoology for over 20 years. I had never seen such a thing in nature, "said Peng Jianjun, a professor at Chongqing University.

made in China. The remarkable dimensions must amaze the right, given that the Chinese salamander is known to be the largest amphibian in the world. And the newly discovered one is not even the most gigantic: previously some have been discovered long up to 1.8 meters. Its prehistoric features are not the result of chance: the family from which these reptiles descend dates back to the Jurassic period, about 170 million years ago.

Extinction alert. Chinese salamanders are included in the list of seriously endangered species. The pollution and the destruction of their natural habitat are putting a strain on the resistance of the population, now reduced by 80%. Added to this is another threat: the Chinese consider them a delicacy to be enjoyed at the table.