This beast can take even the most formidable dinosaurs.
About 75 million years ago, giant crocodiles, 33 meters long, roamed the Earth, reports a new study. Known as Deinosuchus (Latin for “terror crocodiles”), these creatures were among the largest crocs ever in existence, the researchers said.
“Deinosuchus was a giant that must have terrorized dinosaurs that came to the water’s edge to drink,” study lead author Adam Cossette of the New York Institute of Technology said in a statement. “Until now, the whole animal was unknown. These young specimens we examined reveal a strange, monstrous, toothed banana-sized predator.”
From previous studies on crane debris and bite marks on dinosaur fossil bones, paleontologists have long speculated that massive animals predominate dinosaurs. The new study further confirms that Deinosuchus certainly had the size of the head and the strength of the jaw to do just that.
Crocodiles lived in both the western and eastern parts of present-day North America. At that time, the continent was cut in half by a shallow sea that stretched from the South Arctic Ocean to present-day Gulf of Mexico.
Despite the creature’s name, they were actually more closely related to alligators, the study said.
Deinosuchus became extinct before the main mass extinction at the end of the dinosaur age. The reason for its disappearance remains unknown, researchers said. From here, the authors call for more studies to further understand the beast.
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“It was a strange animal,” study co-author Professor Christopher Brochu, a paleontologist at the University of Iowa, said in a statement. “This shows that crocodiles are not ‘living fossils’ that have not changed since the age of the dinosaurs. They have evolved just as dynamically as any other group.”
The study was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
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