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Oldest Crocodile Ancestor?

  • 21-01-2011 6:35pm
    Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭

    Around the same time the first dinosaurs were running around South America an early relative of modern crocodiles was making it's mark in North America. Interestingly, these early crocodiles (who have yet to recieve an official scientific name) had not yet adapted to the semi-QUtic lifestyle modern crocs are known for. Instead they appear to have been quite capable of walking and even running on dry land.
    The prehistoric croc relative's West Texas home looked more like Costa Rica 225 million years ago. Lush tropical rainforests then dominated the landscape.

    Chatterjee said the newly discovered reptile had hind limbs, a hip girdle and tail that all suggest this animal walked, and probably also ran, throughout its tropical habitat. In contrast, modern crocodiles possess small legs and a different type of tail that creates a forward thrust by undulation, helpful for moving quickly in water.

    Chatterjee concluded, “Leaving land for the water was probably the smartest thing crocodiles and alligators did. That way, they didn’t encounter the dinosaurs like other animals did."

    Read more here.