Welcome to a blog now shared by one, two, um... four people. Wipe your shoes off on the mat and delve into the posts featuring rants, museum pictures, and some cool facts. Nerds of all kinds welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A New Crocodile - The Size of a Killer Whale

Croc restorations by Dmitry Bogdanov.

That's right, we have another new crocodile. Well, technically, it's been known for a while, but has been assigned to its own genus, as has another. Plesiosuchus manselii, previously thought to be a species of Steneosaurus and then Dakosaurus (the "Godzillacroc"), was nearly 7m in length, the size of a small killer whale. Torvoneustes carpenteri, the size of a large dolphin, also got its own name recently, considered to be Metriorhynchus, Dakosaurus, and then Geosaurus too. Each one would have been a fierce seagoing predator from Late Jurassic Europe (a popular place for metriorhynchids apparently).

Metriorhynchids weren't the only crocodiles to take to sea. Saltwater crocodiles are aptly named for their ability to tolerate saltwater, and broad-snouted caimans (which really look like Purussaurus) can be found in brackish water. There were also the extinct teleosaurids, which formed the suborder Thalattosuchia with metriorhynchids. The aforementioned Steneosaurus was a teleosaurid that ranged from 8-16ft in length. Teleosaurids are also known from the Early-Mid Jurassic, and a particular monster lived as late as the Early Cretaceous. Known as Machimosaurus, this giant teleosaurid measured more than 30ft in length, bigger than Plesiosuchus and as long as a bus. Adapted to seizing and crushing hard prey such as turtles, bitemarks have also been found on sauropods that match this behemoth. Whether this was just a carcass washed to sea or an island-hopping sauropod attacked by the crocodile, we'll never know. Gavialids also took to sea, such as the Peruvian Piscogavialis.

Piscogavialis by Raymond Sabb and DeviantART user Austroraptor.

Well, that's it for now. Go home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment