Monday, 24 July 2017

Ancient species of ‘supercroc’ had serrated, T. Rex-like teeth

July 6, 2017

by Chuck Bednar

A giant crocodile-like creature that lived in Madagascar more than 150 million years ago had a large jaw and serrated teeth similar to those of the Tyrannosaurus rex, suggesting that it, like the predatory dinosaur, fed on bones and other hard animal tissues, a new study has revealed.

The species, whose scientific name is Razanandrongobe sakalavae (“giant lizard ancestor from Sakalava region”), had straight legs and a skull unlike those of modern-day crocodiles, according to BBC News. It is thought to be the earliest and largest member of a group of early crocodilians known as Notosuchians – a clade which lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In fact, in a press release, lead author Cristiano Dal Sasso from the Natural History Museum of Milan and his colleagues reported that Razanandrongobe sakalavae (Razana, for short) predates what had been the earliest-known Notosuchians by around 42 million years.

Based on the shape of the skull and an analysis of the creature’s anatomical features, Dal Sasso and his colleagues identified Razana as a relative of South American baurusuchids and sebecids, a group of predators that had deep skulls and powerful erect limbs. Razana was reportedly about 7 meters long and weighed between 800 and 1,000 kilograms (about 1,700 to 2,200 pounds).

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