According to a new study reviewing fossils from the giant, Late Cretaceous crocodile that once roamed the earth and preyed on dinosaurs, Deinosuchus.
The study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, reiterates that Deinosuchus It is one of the largest crocodylians ever to exist, reaching up to 33 feet in length. New in this study is a view of anatomy DeinosuchusThis is achieved by joining various specimens not known to date, resulting in a more complete picture of the animal.
Adam Cossette, a vertebrate paleontologist at the College of Osteoarthritis Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology at Arkansas State University, led the study to correct some of the misunderstandings. Deinosuchus.
So far, the complete animal is unknown, Cossette said. “These new specimens we examined show a bizarre, monstrous predator with teeth the size of a banana.”
Previous studies of skull relics and dinosaur bites have led paleontologists to believe Deinosuchus is an opportunity predator, according to the press release. The fossils now make that clear Deinosuchus Really had head size and jaw power to hunt, including the big dinosaurs.
“Deinosuchus being a giant would definitely have to terrorize the dinosaurs to the edge of the water to drink, “said Cossette.
University of Iowa vertebrate paleontologist Christopher Brochu, a co-author of the study, says another important insight from the paper is that there are several species. Deinosuchus wandered in North America 75 to 82 million years ago.
Research notes Deinosuchus hatchheri and Deinosuchus riograndensis lived in the west, from what is now Montana to northern Mexico. Deinosuchus schwimmeri lives in the east from New Jersey to Mississippi.
“Some of them were separated by a sea line that at one point cut North America in half from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean,” said Brochu. “And that might have driven what we call speculation. There may have been an ancestral dinosaur in North America, and then the sea line cut that population in half and on the one hand it evolved. one direction, the other in the other. “
Despite the nickname “terror crocodile”, Brochu said Deinosuchus more closely related to crocodiles than crocodiles but “does not look like either.”
Deinosuchus has a long and broad snout, with a bulging front unlike any other living or extinct crocodylian. The muzzle has a pair of large holes. Researchers are still not sure about their function.
Both Brouchu and Cossette claim this article disproves the idea that crocodylians are living fossils, or in other words, animals that never evolved.
“There is a perception that crocodylians are unchanged forms,” Brochu said. “That they appeared in the distant and unchanged past since the dinosaurs. That’s simply not true.”
If you look at modern crocodylian species, there are only a few and they all look and function very similarly, Cossette explained. But if you look at fossils, there are variations in size, shape, diet and lifestyle.
“Most people think that alligators have not changed in 75 million years,” Cossette said. “This study shows that the ancestors of alligators today do not look like them.”
“Crocodiles are truly extremely dynamic creatures that have gone through incredible evolutionary history, have lived in places where modern alligators don’t live, doing things that modern crocodiles don’t do and have developed. To a size that modern alligators never achieve, which I think is the interesting part [of the study], at least for me, “added Cossette.