Fossils program a crocodile forefather dined on a young dinosaur

For the veryfirst time, researchers haveactually discovered unassailable proof that an ancient crocodile forefather chowed down on a dinosaur.

Preserved within a fossilized crocodyliform, a member of a newfound types called Confractosuchus sauroktonos, are the partly absorbed stays of a juvenile bipedal ornithopod, paleontologist Matt White of the University of New England in Australia and coworkers report February 10 in Gondwana Research.

Crocodyliforms consistof contemporary types like crocodiles and alligators as well as their forefathers. Those forefathers lived alongwith dinosaurs for millions of years, and previous proof, such as bite marks on fossilized dinosaur bones, has hinted that croc forefathers dined on dinosaurs when the chance emerged (SN: 10/24/01). But fossils with real maintained stomach contents are incredibly unusual (SN: 8/10/20). In truth, C. sauroktonos is just the 2nd extinct crocodyliform fossil with recognizable stomach contents — and the veryfirst to expose a meal of dinosaur.

C. sauroktonos was about 2.5 meters long — somewhat smallersized than an adult female American alligator — and lived inbetween 104 million and 92.5 million years ago in what is now Queensland, Australia. Similarities inbetween the animal’s skull functions and those of living and extinct crocodyliforms recommend that it didn’t simply consume dinos. C. sauroktonos mostlikely cast a broad net when it came to lookingfor out victim.

As for the grisly contents of its gut — consistingof a coupleof ribs and bits of leg and arm bone — they represent the veryfirst ornithopod ever discovered in Queensland’s Winton rock development. The herbivorous dino might likewise be a brand-new types, although it’s hard to inform from these coupleof pieces, the group states.

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