World’s Largest Marine Crocodile Remains Discovered In Sahara Desert

Posted: Jan 13 2016, 7:04pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
World’s Largest Sea-Dwelling Crocodile Discovered in Sahara Desert
ILLUSTRATION BY DAVIDE BONADONNA

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The fossil remains reveal that the monstrous crocodile was more than 30 feet long and weighed three tons.

Paleontologists have unearthed the remains of a massive terrifying crocodile on the edge of Sahara desert.

The newly discovered crocodile measures more than 30 feet long and weighs three tons, making it the largest sea-dwelling crocodile discovered yet.

Researchers estimates that the crocodile used to swim in the oceans around 130 million years ago, late in the era of dinosaurs. The area, where the fossil remains of thr crocodile were found today, once had been an ocean that separated Africa from Europe.

Researchers are calling the species Machimosaurus rex and suggest that the prehistoric marine animal had characteristics quite similar to the modern day crocodile.

“This is an incredibly big crocodile. It is twice as big as a present day marine crocodile.” Co-author Federico Fanti from University of Bologna, Italy told National Geographic.

The fossil remains were buried inside a piece of rock in the Tunisian desert and consist of a skull and other fragmentary bones. The skull alone is more than five feet long, the length of a normal human being.

The carnivore teeth of the massive crocodile hint on its shrewd predatory behavior. The features also suggest that the crocodile used to hunt ocean animals.

“Machimosaurus rex had stocky relatively short and rounded teeth and a massive skull capable of a remarkable bite force,” said Fanti.

“It would likely have been something of an ambush predator, hanging around in shallow water hunting turtles and fishes and may be waiting for some land animals to come a little close to the shore.

The new M. rex crocodile is quite large but not as large as some of its relative living in freshwater. The biggest ever freshwater crocodile species was Sarcosuchus imperator that lived 110 million years ago. It could grow up to 40 feet and weighted up to eight metric tons.

Nevertheless, the new one is the largest known member of the peculiar linage of crocodiles that spent almost their entire life at sea.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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