Brazil experts find fossils of pre-dinosaur creature
Brazilian paleontologists announced Tuesday they discovered the well-preserved and near-complete fossils of a pre-dinosaur predator that lived some 238 million years ago.
The creature, a Prestosuchus chiniquensis, was about seven meters (22 feet) long, weighed 900 kilos (one ton) and lived in the Triassic Period (250 to 200 million years ago), paleontologists from the Lutheran University of Brazil said.
A team led by paleontologist Sergio Furtado Cabreira and biologist Lucio Roberto da Silva found the fossils in the town of Dona Francisca, some 260 kilometers (160 miles) from Porto Alegre, the capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
"It is something that we could never imagine -- the quality of preservation and the size of the fossils are sensational," said Da Silva in a university press statement.
The discovery "will allow us to better understand the anatomy of the Prestosuchus and will help us more precisely build its skeleton," he said.
These are the only remains that include a well preserved hind leg, "which will give us new information on the locomotion of these incredible reptiles," added Furtado Cabreira.
The remains were found in a sedimentary rock formation that was a lake millions of years ago. Paleontologists believe that herbivore creatures stopped to drink at the site and were ambushed by carnivores such as the Prestosuchus.
The Prestosuchus, a close relative of the crocodile, had a large, deep skull with serrated teeth and a long tail.
(c) 2010 AFP