Tue Jul 7, 2009 3:56pm EDT
RIO DE JANEIRO – Fossils found in Brazil are from a crocodile resembling a large armadillo that was a predator in the area around modern-day Sao Paulo state 90 million years ago, researchers said on Tuesday.
The 6.6-foot-long (two-meter-long), 265-lb (120-kg) crocodile, named the “Armadillosuchus,” appears to have been unique to that area, the researchers at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University said.
The creature displayed some characteristics of an armadillo, with bony plates on its neck and back.
It had a carapace, a wide skull, a short, narrow snout, and relatively small, specialized teeth that make it distinct from any other crocodile discovered, the university said.
“The Armadillosuchus is only found in the interior of Sao Paulo state and this is a surprise, partly because it challenges the idea that crocodiles are found in hot and humid climates,” UFRJ paleontologist Ismar de Souza Carvalho told reporters.
“In this case, they are crocodiles that live in a climate that is quite hot, dry and arid,” he added.
The crocodile lived during the Cretaceous period, when temperatures would have reached about 113 degree Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius), the researchers said.
Researchers displayed fossils from the crocodile at a news conference in Rio, including the head, ribs, and foot. The fossils were first found in 2005.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Rare Philippine crocs released into wild: here.