A municipal worker in a small Brazilian town has unearthed croc bones 70-million-years-old. The crocodilian fossil with big teeth, long legs and fingers, and a doglike skull is now shedding light on the anatomy of a strange group of predators. Live Science's Charles Q. Choi describes the beast:
"This croc almost certainly did not lurk like a log in a river like its modern relatives. 'The rocks from the outcrop where we found the fossils, as well as those from other related areas, suggest a hot and considerably dry environment for the region dating back 70 million years,' researcher Felipe Montefeltro, a paleontologist at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, told LiveScience.
Instead, the ecology of the predators was probably similar to that of wild dogs living today, researchers said. Given the number and size of their teeth, the crocs probably fed on animals of about the same 15- to 20-foot (4.5 to 6 meter) size, including dinosaurs and fellow crocs from the region, the researchers say. Rather than clambering over the ground like the crocs we see today, P. sera would have galloped on long limbs.
Similar to other crocodilians of its era, this croc had plated armor, roughened bone surfaces and massive attachments for jaw-closing muscles. Still, the baurusuchid lineage of crocodilians this new fossil belongs to is known for many unique anatomical features, such as unusually large canine teeth, forward-facing nostrils and tall, thin skulls."
The species is to be named Pissarrachampsa sera. McGill University Paleontologists believe that while the body might seem more dinosaur in shape than today's crocodile, the fossil head carries the definitive characteristics of crocodiles from that era, including a well-developed secondary palate, socketed teeth, and advanced cranial air spaces. I wonder if he is a relative of this guy?