Giant croc had teeth like a T. rex
The animal was a great predator in Madagascar 170 million years ago, at the time when dinosaurs populated the Earth.
Its huge jaw and sawtooth suggest that, like T. rex, it feeds on hard animal tissues such as bone and tendon.
It seems to be the first and most representative of a group of animals called the nodosus crocodile.
The scientific name of the animal is razanandrongobe sakalavae, which means “giant lizard ancestor of the sakalava region.”
This specialized predator differed from current crocodiles that have a different form of skull and powerful straight legs.
In the open access peerj magazine Cristiano Dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco and his colleagues describe the new skull bone of this massive crocodile – Razana dubbed.
“Based on the preserved bones of the skull, we derived a body shape similar to that of baurusouchides [another type of notosuchia South America] and, therefore, a total length of 7 m – 1.6 m hips – and Weight of 800-1000 kg, “Dr. Dal Sasso, the natural history museum in Milan, Italy, told the BBC.
These dimensions are comparable to those of modern parents Razana: “In fact, an adult seawater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) can reach 7 m in length and weigh up to a ton,” added Mr. Dal Sasso.
Previously, the researchers did not have enough fossil material to classify the species with confidence.
But the new fossils have allowed the Italian team to assign a group called mesoeucrocodyliens razana – answer the remaining questions regarding their relationship with other crocodiles.
The study shows that Razana is by far the oldest representative Noosuke, preparing the other members of this group of 42 million years.
“As these and other gigantic Cretaceous ‘Razana’ fangs could outperform even the theropod dinosaurs, the top of the food chain,” said Dr. Dal Sasso.
In fact, the carnivore can even feed some dinosaurs, who shared the landscape.
Good colleague Simone Maganuco, also from the Museum of Natural History of Milan, said: “Its geographical position during the period in which Madagascar separated from other masses of land is strongly suggested by the endemic lineage.”
At the same time, he said, it represented another sign that southern noosuquios of Gondwana – a former “super-continent” composed of Madagascar, Africa, South America, Australia and other current masses.