Australia: ancestor of today’s crocodiles found

Isisfordia duncaniFrom the Courier Mail in Australia:

Fossil solves ageless mystery

Tess Livingstone

June 15, 2006

FOSSILS of isisfordia duncani, a 95 million-year-old crocodilian, have solved a long-standing mystery.

The “new” animal’s fossils have taken University of Queensland researchers 3000 hours to put together after being discovered by the Deputy Mayor of Isisford, Ian Duncan, in the mid-1990s in a dried creek bed on the outskirts of the central-western Queensland town.

The animal features in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal by an international team of paleontologists, headed by Steve Salisbury from UQ’s School of Integrative Biology.

Dr Salisbury said the discovery suggested the ancestor of all living crocodilians – crocodiles, alligators and gharials – originated in Australia rather than Europe or North America, as previously thought.

“These are the most complete crocodilian fossils yet discovered in Australia, and provide us with valuable new insights into the early evolution of today’s crocodilians and their lifestyle as semi-aquatic ambush predators,” Dr Salisbury said.

“The appearance of Isisfordia signalled the dawn of crocodilians as we know them today.”

Living 98 million to 95 million years ago, Isisfordia duncani predates the first recorded appearance of alligators and gharials by almost 20 million years, and the first true crocodiles by more than 30 million.

Dr Salisbury said isisfordia was small compared to most of its modern descendants – adults are just over 1m long and no more than about 3kg – and looked like a dwarf version of the American alligator, but with a much flatter and longer snout.

“It may only have been small by today’s standards, but it represents a very important phase in the evolutionary history of crocodilians.”

Initial preparation of the fossils was undertaken at the Queensland Museum, with much of delicate work being completed in Dr Salisbury’s Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory by research assistant Kerry Geddes over 2½ years.

While the front portion of the skull was missing, Dr Salisbury’s team found a complete fossilised skull in the same district in April last year that has given isisfordia duncani a face.

A display on isisfordia will form the centrepiece of the Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre in Isisford, which will be opened by Queensland Governor Quentin Bryce, on July 14.

See also here.

Gharials: here.

Brazilian fossil crocodile here.

USA: Mesozoic crocodile deinosuchus, second biggest species after sarcosuchus.

India: saltwater crocodile. Also here.

Alligator in Los Angeles: here.

Alligators post Hurricane Katrina: here.

From the Dear Kitty Modblog Google cache:

Crocodilians in the Antilles, Florida, etc. Linking: 11 Comments: 9

Date: 8/5/05 at 7:49AM

Mood: Looking Playing: Snappy the little crocodile

Interesting reports on crocodilians in the Antilles, Florida, etc.: here; and here; and here.

Especially about the spectacled caiman.

Song “Snappy the little crocodile” (about a Nile crocodile): lyrics and video here.

7 thoughts on “Australia: ancestor of today’s crocodiles found

  1. New Mexico’s Biggest Crocodile Identified

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Unlabeled fossils — a jawbone, some teeth and armored plates — have been identified as those of a 30-foot-long crocodile, the largest that ever lived in prehistoric New Mexico.

    The fossils of the predator had been stored, unclassified, for six years among the 100,000 fossils at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science here.

    “It just got sort of stuck in the collection, and nobody noticed it,” paleontology curator Spencer Lucas said.

    The plump-looking armored plates intrigued Lucas, because crocodile plates typically are thin and flat. He investigated and determined its pedigree: the first deinosuchus from New Mexico.

    “This is the biggest crocodile that ever lived in New Mexico,” Lucas said. “Its contemporaries living at the same time were about half its size.”

    Paul Sealey, a volunteer researcher and collector, found the deinosuchus near Farmington in 1999. Sealey said he thought the fossil belonged to some kind of crocodile, but said he didn’t know of any deinosuchus in New Mexico.

    The crocodile will be moved onto the floor of the museum’s atrium in February or March, said museum spokesman Tim Aydelott.

    It will be on display along with an artist’s sketch of how it looked in life, he said.

    Finding the species in New Mexico can tell paleontologists more about what the general ecosystem of the area was like, Lucas said.

    “What we can learn right off is we’ve got to stop thinking the biggest things in these ecosystems were dinosaurs,” Lucas said. “This thing was the same length and maybe the same weight as a tyrannosaur.”

    The crocodile lived in New Mexico when the state was part of a swampy tropical seashore 75 million years ago. It probably ate young dinosaurs, Lucas said.

    “He had a good life,” he said. “He did whatever he wanted to do. He probably didn’t have any natural predators and terrorized the New Mexico seashore.”

    Other deinosuchus remains have been found in Texas, North Carolina and Montana, he said.,2933,180731,00.html?


  2. From: Dr BHUDIA Kutch Science Foundation Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 10:33 AM
    Subject: Recent findings – 3rd Crocodilian’s fossils in KUTCH !!!

    Dear friend of The Science and Geology/Palaeontology,
    Congratulations to all those all who participated and helped towards the research of Science and Geology, Scientists Palaeontologists Sunil Bajpai from the Earth sciences department at IIT – Roorkee in Uttaranchal, PHD scholar Deabasis das, Hans thewissen a assistant professor of Anatomy in north eastern of Ohio university college of medicine. Thanks to all who supported to scientific research work – MUSEUM OF “BHARATIYA SANSKRITI DARSAN” AT BHUJ – KUTCH . AND TRUSTIES, Ms BHRATBA JADEJA AND CURATOR OF MUSEUM Mrs. Neetaben JOSHI.and Maulik Thacker.

    Since last earthquake of Kutch on 26th Jan 2001 we have accelerated our geological research works in Kutch area. And we are proud that our work comes with fruitful results. We have found parts of destroyed fossil of crocodilians in April 2001in vanishing situation. So we invited all Geologist/Palaeontologists all over the world (Letter 4 at the bottom -October 27, 2001) to start research activity on this research. Lack of the Palaeontologists took longer to find the conclusive proofs. We sent that report on 6/13/2002 to James Perran Ross that time Executive Officer Crocodile Specialist Group with a quick response (Letter 3 at the bottom June 25, 2002) We further received news in 2002 from Pandhro Lignite mine that similar 9 Meter Crocodilian skeleton fossil was dug out of the mine was about 90 million years old so we forwarded details to all Geologist/Palaeontologists to accelerate/ initiate all research in that field.

    LAKHPAT – HARUDI formation near Julerai village

    Recently team of scientists from the Earth sciences Roorkee in Uttaranchal, have taken great step to wards the LAKHPAT – HARUDI formation near coal mine area. And found a big 10 meter long crocodilian fossil in Village JULRAI near HARUIDI giving the conclusive proofs of the work gong in the right direction.
    The fossils belong to the same family of ancient reptiles whose remains have been found in the region between India and Pakistan . The creature lived in the Cretaceous period, which lasted from 144 to 65 million years ago. It was the last period during which dinosaurs lived.

    In a rare discovery a team from the earth sciences Roorkee in Uttaranchal, found a 45 million-year-old fossil of a crocodile in Julrai village in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district. According to palaeontologists, associate professor in the department, the crocodile skull that the team found is about 70 cm long, suggesting that the body must have been about eight to 10 meter long. The rocks from which this fossil was excavated were formed in what was then a swampy environment. In the past couple of years, also discovered an assemblage of fossil land mammals from a coal (lignite) mine at Pandhro in LAKHAPAT.
    These fossils, between 52 and 55 million years old, have been discovered, the collection includes distant ancestors of modern horses, humans, deer and cattle, bats, insectivores and many more groups. The presence of animals related to kangaroos in India approximately 52 million years ago”.

    1) Most recent reply
    Dear Sir

    The IUCN-SSC-Crocodile Specialist Group would like to publish the article on “Crocodilians in KUTCH ” in our quarterly CSG Newsletter.Are you able to provide an English version?

    Many thanks
    Tom Dacey
    CSG Executive Officer

    2) Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2006 10:00:56 -0000 From: “Kutch Science Foundation” To:
    Subject: Recent findings : Subject: Fw: Crocodilians in KUTCH !!!

    From: KutchScience (Further developments and findings – One was in LAKHPAT Coal Mine – PANADHRO and now Again in Naredi – Harudi formation)

    To: “Perran Ross”
    Cc: ; “Madras Croc Bank”
    ; “romulus whitaker”

    Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 10:02 AM
    Dear friends Of Science and geology,
    GUJARATI news 45
    million year old giant crocodilian fossil in Kutch LAKAPAT

    Forwarded By yours Dr.BHUDIA-Science Group Of INDIA .

    3) Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 12:11 AM
    From: “Perran Ross”
    To: “Kutch Science @ hotmail”
    Cc: ; “Madras Croc Bank”
    ; “romulus whitaker”

    Dear Dr. Bhudia,
    Thanks for your interesting preliminary report of crocodilian fossils from Kutch.We would be interested to recieve additional details as your research on this topic proceeds.Sincerely James Perran Ross Executive Officer Crocodile Specialist Group
    James Perran Ross
    Executive Officer, Crocodile Specialist Group
    Florida Museum of Natural History
    Dickinson Hall, Box 117800
    University of Florida
    Gainesville , FL 32611 USA
    Phone 1 352 846 2566
    fax 1 352 392 9367

    4) At 05:08 PM 6/13/2002, you wrote:
    From: Kutch Science
    Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 10:32 AM
    At 05:08 PM 6/13/2002, you wrote:
    From: Kutch Science Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 10:32 AM
    Subject: Crocodilians in KUTCH
    Dear Science Friends,
    I would like to write YOU all of our expert GEOLOGIST, Archaeologists and ANTHROPOLOGIST on the subject of the new Geological researches. WE have seen fossils of “Crocodiles”. Shree DAS surveyed KUTCH for ONGC mission and on mining project for ONGC. He observed the importance of KUTCH on geological science. some of the fossils he declared as Mesozoic (Ammonites +208Mn years and some CROCODILES “cretaceous period” 140 Mn years together at the same place with a VAST time difference of more than 65Mn Years). Some experts are in favour of those DINO “Supercroc ” are Prejurassic +200 Mn years rather than “cretaceous period” 140 Mn years.What we are thinking of the Fossils of the “crocodiles” are actually the ancestors (10-12meters size and according to a wildlife expert Attenborough “Marine Dinosaurs”) of the present time Crocodiles of 4 meter size. some describes as “CROCODILIAN” ancestors of many species and that of crocodiles and some explain as “Supercroc” “DINO”. Those “sarcosuchus” ancestors of crocodiles had protruding teeth and armoured plate and lifespan of more than 110 years compared to 70 years of present life span of the crocodiles. Mesozoic Ammonites +205Mn years and some CROCODILIANS of the “cretaceous period of – JUNGLES IN KUTCH” +140 Mn years together at the same place with a VAST time difference of 65Mn Years makes us to re-think about the time scale and to understand geology of KUTCH, wildlife, environment, history and fossils history. Perhaps we need to ask our expert geologist Shree DAS to visit KUTCH again and give us an expert second opinion on the subject to support the New research of Kutch geology. I think this time every one should consult such an experts who are in our touch and known to us to give their advise for the benefit of the science of Geology.
    By yours Dr.BHUDIA-Science Group Of INDIA.
    President:” Kutch Science Foundation”.
    Founder :”Kutch Amateurs Astronomers Club – Bhuj – Kutch “.
    Life Member:”kutch Itihaas Parishad”.,,
    Do visit our ABOVE Clubs/Groups of Science, Science Group of India .


  3. Gharials pose problem of plenty in Patna Zoo

    Patna (PTI): What would have been a dream come true for conservationists has turned out to be a nightmare for the authorities of Patna Zoo.

    The burgeoning population of gharials or “gavialis gangeticus” at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park is giving a headache to the authorities who are planning to release them in rivers or shift the reptiles to other zoological parks in the country under an exchange programme or even for free.

    “I have written to the chief warden of the Department of Forests and Environment to consider releasing the alligators in the Gandak river and his response is awaited,” Director of the Park, Rakesh Kumar said.

    The obstacle that is apparently coming in the way of releasing the gharials, which fall in the “critically endangered” category under schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is doubts about their ability to survive in the wild as they have been bred under the watchful eyes and tender care of zoo authorities.

    There are around 125 gharials in the two enclosures having a capacity to accommodate only 45 and this includes several adults, Kumar said.

    A full grown male alligator, distinguished by a bulbous growth on its snout, can grow up to 20 feet long and can easily crush the young ones.

    The Hindu, June 18, 2008


  4. Crocodile census causes alarm in Puerto Rico

    The Associated Press

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010; 4:26 PM

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Invasive crocodiles are making themselves at home in the densely populated Puerto Rican capital and pose a potential threat to humans and pets, researchers said Wednesday.

    The new study by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program does not estimate the reptiles’ total population, but investigators spotted a dozen in one place on a recent night and there have been hundreds of reported sightings.

    The crocodiles are believed to be the descendants of pets brought to the island in the 1960s and are now flourishing in the estuary, which is surrounded by more than 500,000 people.

    Most common is the spectacled caiman, a native of Central and South America that can grow to more than 6 feet (2 meters).

    There have been no known attacks on humans.

    However, the crocs are devouring native birds and fish, Estuary Program project director Javier Laureano said. He plans to meet with government officials to develop an eradication plan.


  5. Pingback: Jurassic crocodiles, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Crocodilian fossils from Puerto Rico | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: New dinosaur species discovery in Tanzania | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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