Total croc: Toothy tyrant of the Jurassic was 9m long

October 15, 2014
A crocodile lies in its pen on September 22, 2014, in Pierrelate, southeastern France

A forerunner of today's crocodiles that lurked in coastal waters and estuaries some 150 million years ago measured 9.26 metres (some 30 feet) from snout to tail, scientists reported Wednesday.

Paleontologists from half a dozen European countries took a fresh look at the classification of so-called crocodylomorphs that go by the name of Machimosaurus.

Sifting through fossils of teeth and pieces of jawbone and cranium housed in museums, they concluded that the Machimosaurus family comprised three species in Europe and a fourth in Ethiopia.

The baby of the clan, Europe's Machimosaurus buffetauti, measured an estimated 5.8 m, while the big daddy—Machimosaurus hugii, also from Europe, was around 1.5 times the size of the longest today at 9.26 m. The size of the Ethiopian creature cannot be reliably estimated.

The four species lived in the Late Jurassic, a period about 161 to 145 million years ago that was a boom time for crocodylomorph evolution, but they were probably not contemporaries, the investigators said.

The beasts would have feasted on turtles or hard-scaled fish, according to the study published in the British journal Royal Society Open Science.

Explore further: Evolution of marine crocodilians constrained by ocean temperatures

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not rated yet Oct 16, 2014
Almost 10 meter long crocodiles. The European continent sure has seen amazing developments throughout its history. Especially like the fact that ancient Homo sapiens lived together with all those European Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago (overlapping period of a few thousand years). Those ancient cities up to 15.000 years old. The ancient Greeks and all their developments (Olympics, Democracy, Antikythera mechanism). Ancient Romans and all their developments (too much). The modern EU and the cooperation of all these nations finally in peace. The AIRBUS, CERN, ESA, etc. So many great developments.

And looking at the enormous number of upcoming projects and cooperations on the scale of AIRBUS things are clearly barely getting started. Such potential. Wow. But those crocks sure are amazing. Perhaps they can alter DNA on a regular crocodile to make it grow to that size again. Didn't those large animal sizes also have something to do with increased oxygen levels back then.

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