Jurassic Fossil Reveals How Some Ancient Crocodiles Evolved Into Dolphin-Like Animals

Posted: May 14 2018, 7:58am CDT | by , Updated: May 14 2018, 8:38am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Jurassic Fossil Reveals How Some Ancient Crocodiles Evolved into Dolphin-Like Animals
An artist's impression of Magyarosuchus fitosi. Photo Credit_Márton Szabó
  • Jurassic era fossil reveals how some ancient crocodiles evolved into dolphin-like animals

Fossil Dolphin Tail that is 180 Million Years Old is Missing Link in Crocodile Family Tree

A very ancient fossil shows that early crocodiles evolved into dolphin-like animals. This fossil has a tailbone with a fin which shows that the crocodilians of that time were ferocious beasts that ruled the seas.

The timeline in prehistory is the Jurassic Period. As an old specimen, the fossil reveals this creature to have sharp teeth in its long snout. Also, it was almost five meters in length. The beast had an uncanny resemblance to other crocodiles of that prehistoric era.

Many of the crocodiles had bony ridges on their bodies which served as armor. There was a special subgroup among these crocodiles that had flippers and fins.

Yet they had no body armor. The novel species whose fossil was unearthed had a tail fin yet it also had body armor thus showing it to be a missing link. This fossil has been termed the Magyarosuchus fitosi. That is in remembrance of its amateur discoverer, Attila Fitos.

The fossil was found in a region with mountain ranges in it in Hungary. The year was 1996. It had been stored away in a museum in Budapest. Many experts in paleontology studied it on an in-depth basis.

The odd bone in its tail fin was, in particular, a source of fascination for the scientists. Finally, the record has been set straight and the missing link has been found in the crocodilian family. It seems to be an entirely novel species that is distinct from the rest of the crocodiles of that time.

This crocodile was probably 16 feet long from its snout to the tip of its tail. It had big, sharp teeth that sliced through its prey with fine precision. This research effort fills in the details in the evolution of crocodiles and killer whale-like creatures.

The findings of this study got published in the journal PeerJ.

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