Triassic crocodile discovered

This video says about itself:

Jan. 31 [2008] – Brazilian paleontologists discover fossil of prehistoric crocodile that roamed in what is now the state of Sao Paulo about 80 million years ago.

The well-preserved fossil of Montealtosuchus arrudacamposi, a medium-sized lizard-like predator measuring about 5 1/2 feet (1.7 meters) from head to tail, dates back about 80 million years to the Late Cretaceous period. The fossil was found near the town of Monte Alto in Sao Paulo state and is named after the place and the local scientist who dug up the fossil in 2004 — Arruda Campos.

By Jennifer Viegas:

‘Great grandmother of crocodiles’ unearthed

Prehistoric relative may be world’s oldest croc ancestor

Paleontologists have just discovered what may be the world’s oldest known crocodile ancestor, according to a Texas Tech University press release.

The toothy animal, which hasn’t been officially named yet, lived in what is now West Texas 225 million years ago. That timing is significant, because some of the world’s first known dinosaurs emerged at around the same time period down in Argentina. …

This large section of what was then called Pangaea

It was not called Pangaea then, only since 1915.

may have then been the birthing ground for some of Earth’s largest and most famous reptiles. Pangaea was a supercontinent that existed before the component continents separated into their current configuration.

Perhaps because there was so much land to run on, the early crocodile ancestor was built more for land speed than aquatic surprise.

“This is a brand new animal and possibly the great-grandmother of all crocodiles,” Doug Cunningham who worked on the project, was quoted as saying in the TTU press release. He helped to performed a CT scan of the reptile’s fossil.

“These early crocodiles look like your typical terrestrial animals,” according to Cunningham. “An intact skull is very rare to find. One of the exciting things is we were able to see inside its brain case with the CT scan. We can see the brain evolved very slowly.”

It was this braincase, and also an ankle joint, that linked the early reptile to crocodiles.

“It has lots of sinuses in the braincase like those of modern crocs,” said Sankar Chatterjee, curator of paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech, who also worked on the project. “These sinuses may be linked to their vocalization. Unlike most reptiles, crocs are very vocal and hear well. We described a similar animal from China that gives us some idea about the way this animal lived.

The prehistoric croc relative’s West Texas home looked more like Costa Rica 225 million years ago. Lush tropical rainforests then dominated the landscape.

Chatterjee said the newly discovered reptile had hind limbs, a hip girdle and tail that all suggest this animal walked, and probably also ran, throughout its tropical habitat. In contrast, modern crocodiles possess small legs and a different type of tail that creates a forward thrust by undulation, helpful for moving quickly in water.

Chatterjee concluded, “Leaving land for the water was probably the smartest thing crocodiles and alligators did. That way, they didn’t encounter the dinosaurs like other animals did.”

A recently discovered fossil trove in south-west China has thrown new light on an ecosystem recovery after the severest mass extinction of life on Earth that wiped out 96 per cent of marine species and 70 per cent of land life: here.

In Triassic North Carolina, a 9-foot-tall bipedal crocodile relative ruled the land with a jaw full of knife-like teeth. Meet the “Butcher of Carolina”: here.

Relict populations of Crocodylus niloticus persist in Chad, Egypt and Mauritania. Although crocodiles were widespread throughout the Sahara until the early 20th century, increased aridity combined with human persecution led to local extinction. Knowledge on distribution, occupied habitats, population size and prey availability is scarce in most populations. This study evaluates the status of Saharan crocodiles and provides new data for Mauritania to assist conservation planning: here.

How To Tell The Difference Between A Crocodile And An Alligator: here.

Crocodilian behaviour: a window to dinosaur behaviour? Here.

Pictures: New Dinosaur, [Cretaceous] Crocodile Cousin Found in Brazil: here.

9 thoughts on “Triassic crocodile discovered

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