This monster can confront even the most fearsome dinosaurs.
About 75 million years ago, giant crocodiles that were 33 feet long roamed the Earth, a new study says. Known as Deinosuchus (Latin for “terror crocodile”), these creatures are among the largest crocodile species to ever exist, the researchers said.
Lead author of the study, Adam Cossette of the New York Institute of Technology, said: “Deinosuchus was a giant who terrorized dinosaurs to the edge of the water to drink. “So far, the complete animal is unknown. These new specimens we examined show a bizarre, monstrous predator with teeth the size of a banana.”
From previous studies of skull relics and dinosaur fossil bone bites, paleontologists have long speculated that large animals preyed on dinosaurs. The new study further confirms that Deinosuchus certainly has the head size and jaw-crushing power to do just that.
Crocodiles live in both the west and east of today’s North America. At that time, the continent was cut in half by a shallow sea stretching from the Arctic Ocean south to the present-day Gulf of Mexico.
Despite the creature’s name, it is actually a closer relative of the crocodile, the study found.
Deinosuchus disappeared before the major mass extinction at the end of the dinosaur era. The reason for its extinction remains unknown, the researchers say. From here, the authors called for more research to better understand the monster.
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“It’s a strange animal,” study co-author Professor Christopher Brochu, a paleontologist from the University of Iowa, said in a statement. “It shows that crocodylians are not ‘living fossils’ unchanged since the age of the dinosaurs. They evolved dynamically like any other group.”
The research is published in the Journal of Vertebrates.
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