London, Sept 15 : Scientists from Leeds University have discovered that the world was ruled by pig-like creatures for a million years.
The "Age of the Porcine" occurred around 260 million years ago - when the creatures called lystrosaurs were the few survivors of a mass extinction.
Nearly 95 pct of the living species were destroyed by a series of volcanic eruptions leaving behind pigs in a "golden age" of no predators.
They had Earth's abundant plant-life all to themselves.
"We can only speculate on how lystrosaurs survived while the rest died. Perhaps its ability to burrow and hibernate protected it from the worst periods," The Sun quoted Professor Paul Wignall of Leeds University, as saying
"The remarkable thing about the lystrosaurs was their size.
"Nothing else that big seems to have got through the destruction - and that is why they were able to dominate Earth for so long. They fed and spread.
"We think there were billions of them. Their fossils are everywhere," he added
Lystrosaurs were similar in size to modern pigs, with snouts and small tusks for rooting around in vegetation.