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Fossil find: 'Godzilla' crocodile had head of a dinosaur, fins like a fish

Editor : See pictures on the National Geographic website

Researchers have discovered evidence of an ancient sea creature that would have made Tyrannosaurus rex, think twice before stepping into the ocean.

At the southern tip of South America , they found fossils of an entirely new species of ancient crocodile ?one whose massive jaws and jagged teeth would have made it the most fearsome predator in the sea.

Unlike the crocodiles we know today, Dakosaurus andiniensis lived entirely in the water, and had fins instead of legs. But that's not all that made it unusual. Two other features ?its hefty size and T. rex-like snout ?have earned it a unique place in history ?and the nickname “Godzilla.?/p>

Diego Pol, a postdoctoral researcher at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute and the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Ohio State University , determined that the oddly shaped fossil specimens found in Patagonia belong on the crocodile family tree.

“This species was very unusual, because other marine crocodiles that were around at the same time had very delicate features ?long, skinny snouts and needle-like teeth for catching small fish and mollusks,?he said. “But this croc was just the opposite. It had a short snout, and large teeth with serrated edges. It was definitely a predator of large sea creatures.?/p>

Paleontologists Zulma Gasparini and Luis Spalletti of the National University of La Plata in Argentina uncovered the crocodile's fossil bones in Patagonia ; Pol used sophisticated software to map the features of those bones and determine its lineage. Together, they describe the creature in the latest issue of the journal Science.

It measured 13 feet from nose to tail. Its jaws were a foot-and-a-half long, with interlocking serrated teeth up to four inches long.

There were many other sizes of marine crocodile species
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Source:Ohio State University


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