Researchers discovered the fossils of the oldest known crocodile ancestor, Razanandrongobe sakalavae
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers stumbled upon the fossils of a mysterious creature, measuring around 7 meters in length and 1 ton in weight. The creature exhibited sharp and powerful teeth, which resemble those of Tyrannosaurus rex, and researchers believe it to be the ancestor of the modern-day crocodile.
A crocodile ancestor discovered in Madagascar
This fierce predator, called Razanandrongobe sakalavae, belonged to the notosuchian species, which also belonged to the family of archosaurians. They lived during the Jurassic period, which happened quite a lot before T. rex even started evolving. Researchers weren’t able to find out more about the species until now, since they had only discovered small fragments of bones and fossils.
Now, they were able to put up a more detailed study, which they published in the journal PeerJ. This was possible after the discovery of a fossilized jaw in Ambondromamy, Madagascar. All these new findings helped with creating a complete picture of the appearance of this crocodile ancestor.
The creature was a fierce predator
Judging from the shape of the jaw, researchers established the body shape of the creature resembled that of a crocodile. Some incredibly large teeth were also present, measuring around 15 centimeters from tip to root. They were ideal to cut through prey and break their bones.
This creature, apart from being the oldest known crocodile ancestor, was also the oldest of the notosuchians. The time gap between it and the next known specimen in the same family is of 42 million years. Razana, as researchers nicknamed the creature, was probably the largest predator in Madagascar.
It was probably both a hunter and a scavenger. Its teeth were tough enough both to kill prey, or to tear through bones of carcasses. In fact, its body shape indicates it could occupy a place among theropod dinosaurs.
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