Prehistoric Super-Crocs Stood Upright and Feasted on Dinosaurs

November 24, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Fearsome prehistoric super crocodiles stood upright on two legs and outran many dinosaurs, with some species of super crocs regularly feasting on dinos. The new discovery was made by a team of paleontologists from the University of Chicago, who uncovered new fossils of the super crocs in the Sahara region of Africa.

Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, led the research expedition. Sereno uncovered three new species of crocodile fossils and additional fossil specimens from two previously identified species. Sereno first discovered the existence of the SuperCroc species about ten years ago, but his new findings point to many additional types of prehistoric crocodiles.

The new crocodile species have been given colorful nicknames. The groups of crocodiles are named, BoarCroc, RatCroc, PancakeCroc, DuckCroc and DogCroc. What is most remarkable about many of these new crocs was their ability to stand on two legs like mammals.

“We have an idea of what a crocodile should be and what a mammal should be. But you have to break down these categories to see what was going on in Africa back then,” said Sereno. The 20-ft.-long PancakeCroc, with its wide flat head was capable of devouring medium size dinosaurs, such as a multiton or a long-necked sauropod.

Sereno studied the behavior of modern-day crocodiles to make the connections that led him to conclude that ancient crocs stood on two legs. The Australian freshwater croc known as a “freshy,” is “…able to get up and gallop,” unlike salt-water crocs, noted Sereno. The ancient super crocodiles had legs like the freshies and giant tales like the “salties,” providing them with fearsome swimming and running capabilities.

Sereno’s research can be found in the journal ZooKeys.



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