For the primary time, scientists have discovered indeniable proof that an historic crocodile ancestor chowed down on a dinosaur.
Preserved inside a fossilized crocodyliform, a member of a newfound species dubbed Confractosuchus sauroktonos, are the in part digested stays of a juvenile bipedal ornithopod, paleontologist Matt White of the College of New England in Australia and associates document February 10 in Gondwana Analysis.
Crocodyliforms come with trendy species like crocodiles and alligators in addition to their ancestors. The ones ancestors lived along dinosaurs for hundreds of thousands of years, and former proof, corresponding to chunk marks on fossilized dinosaur bones, has hinted that croc ancestors dined on dinosaurs when the chance arose (SN: 10/24/01). However fossils with precise preserved abdomen contents are extraordinarily uncommon (SN: 8/10/20). In truth, C. sauroktonos is handiest the second one extinct crocodyliform fossil with identifiable abdomen contents — and the primary to expose a meal of dinosaur.
C. sauroktonos was once about 2.5 meters lengthy — quite smaller than an grownup feminine American alligator — and lived between 104 million and 92.5 million years in the past in what’s now Queensland, Australia. Similarities between the creature’s cranium options and the ones of residing and extinct crocodyliforms counsel that it didn’t simply devour dinos. C. sauroktonos almost definitely solid a large internet when it got here to in search of out prey.
As for the grisly contents of its intestine — together with a couple of ribs and bits of leg and arm bone — they constitute the primary ornithopod ever present in Queensland’s Winton rock formation. The herbivorous dino will also be a brand new species, even though it’s tough to inform from those few items, the staff says.