Giant skull of an 8-MILLION-year-old crocodile that attacked big prey including a 10ft tall bird is discovered in Australia
- The crocodile was roughly the same size as a saltwater crocodile, or 17 feet in length
- It could have weighed 1,400 pounds but in some cases, reached up to 2,000 pounds
- It was discovered near Alive Springs, Northern Territory
- The new species of crocodile feasted on large prey, including flightless birds
The skull of an 8 million-year-old crocodile that used to hunt ‘big prey’ has been found in Australia, with researchers believing it to be part of a new species.
The killer croc was discovered in 2009 approximately 125 miles (200km) from Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, according to the BBC, which first reported the news.
It was approximately the same size as a modern-day saltwater crocodile, or roughly 17ft in length and approximately 1,000lbs.
The new species, which does not yet have a name and belongs to the Baru genus, adds to the legacy of creatures that roamed the Australian continent millions of years ago.
‘It tells us about a new species that we didn’t realize was inhabiting central Australia,’ Dr. Adam Yates, senior curator of Earth Sciences at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, told the news outlet.
It may be surprising to believe that the central part of the country had rivers large enough to support crocodiles of these size.
However, Yates said it adds ‘one more thread in the tapestry in understanding the way Australian fauna has evolved over time.’
The unnamed species of crocodile was discovered in 2009, but it was only recently that it was confirmed to be a new species
Dr. Adam Yates is holding the fossilized skull of the ancient croc. With enormous teeth, it likely hunted large prey, including flightless birds
This is an drawing of what the ancient croc, belong to the Baru genus, might have looked like, as it roamed around Australia 8 million years ago
It’s possible that not only did the enormous croc weigh ‘many hundreds of kilos,’ but that it used its brute force and strength to go after much larger prey.
“It is the most heavily robust member of the genus Baru,’ Yates added. ‘It has particularly large teeth… so it has a lower number of teeth.’
He continued: ‘This was a crocodile that was attacking big prey. Big megafauna.’
One such creature that it feasted on was Dromornis stirtoni, a massive flightless bird that was approximately 10 feet tall (3m) and weighed close to 1,400 pounds (650kg).
“We know from other sites that Baru was tackling Dromornis because we found Dromornis bones with crocodile-teeth puncture marks in its leg bones,” Yates told abcnews.net.au.
It’s expected that the new species will be named sometime next year.
In December 2020, Yates and a separate team of researchers wrote up research on another ‘prehistoric swamp king’ in Australia, the Pallimnarchus de Vis.
Ancient 13-foot crocodile walked on two legs like T. rex
An ancient 13-foot crocodile that lived in South Korea around 120 million years ago walked on two legs just like Tyrannosaurus rex.
Experts from South Korea, Australia and the US analyzed well-preserved fossil tracks, which were found at the Sacheon Jahye-ri dig site in South Korea.
Initially, experts thought that the trace fossils must have been created by another ancient reptile — a pterosaur — that could fly but would have walked on two legs.
Further analysis, however, revealed that the prints have heel-to-toe impressions, which must have been made by a creature walking on the flat of its feet.