Scientists have discovered a new type of ancient crocodile and this discovery will help them shed some light on the species. It appears that this animal who lived during Jurassic Period had evolved to have features similar to those of dolphins. The study was officially published in PeerJ, which is a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The fossil that was found is 180 million years old and it was recently analyzed by researchers. It appears that the fossil has abnormal vertebra in its tail fin and according to scientists, this species combines two types of crocodile families: one that had flippers and tail fins that can be used to swim and another one that had limbs for walking, as well as a bone-like armor on its back. If you are curious how this crocodile looks like, you should be able to find an image of it created by Marton Szabo,
Understanding the species
“This fossil provides a unique insight into how crocodiles began evolving into dolphin and killer whale-like forms more than 180 million years ago. The presence of both bony armour and a tail fin highlights the remarkable diversity of Jurassic-era crocodiles,” declared Dr. Mark Young, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences.
The bones had been kept at a museum in Budapest and the fossil was discovered in the Gerecse Mountains in Hungary. The study confirms that this is the largest known non-metriorhynchid metriorhynchoid. The estimated body length is of 4.67–4.83 m [15 feet – 16 feet].
The study also reveals that this new species had large pointed teeth that were used for prey. “The combination of retaining heavy dorsal and ventral armors and having a slight hypocercal tail is unique, further highlighting the mosaic manner of marine adaptations in Metriorhynchoidea,” continues the study.