Study shows that the last food of the ancient crocodile was a dinosaur

Study shows that the last food of the ancient crocodile was a dinosaur

The discovery of a new species of ancient crocodile could make any paleontologist’s year of work, but one team in Australia got even more pleasure after discovering the remains of a dinosaur.

The partially digested remains of a young ornithopod dinosaur have been discovered in the stomach of a new crocodile species called Confractosuchus sauroktonos, which roamed Australia 95 million years ago.

The fossilized bones were discovered on a sheep farm near the northwestern edge of the Vinton Formation, a geological deposit in Queensland.

Experts say the crocodile, which reached 8.5 feet in length during its lifetime, could have grabbed an unsuspecting ornithopod as it was a “light meal.”

The skeleton of Confractosuchus includes a nearly complete skull with dentition and a semi-articulated postcranial skeleton, although its tail and hind limbs are missing.

The skeleton of Confractosuchus includes a nearly complete skull with dentition and a semi-articulated postcranial skeleton, although its tail and hind limbs are missing.

The artist's impression depicts the capture of the ornithopod by the crocodile Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

The artist’s impression depicts the capture of the ornithopod by the crocodile Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

Paper images show original fossils and detailed reconstructions of Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

Paper images show original fossils and detailed reconstructions of Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

MEET NEW TYPES OF CROCODILES

Scientific name: Confractosuchus sauroktonos.

Length: 8.2 feet (2.5 meters)

Diet: carnivorous

Lifetime: 95 million years ago

Location: Australia

According to experts, the combined remains represent the first evidence of the predation of crocodiles and dinosaurs in Australia.

Such a discovery in the contents of the intestine of a crocodile of the Cretaceous period is extremely rare, since only a few examples of dinosaur predation are known throughout the world.

Contrary to popular belief, crocodiles and dinosaurs existed simultaneously; in fact, modern crocodiles and alligators have hardly changed from their ancient ancestors who lived during the Cretaceous period, between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago.

C. sauroktonos is not only a new species, but also a new genus. Its bones were found in 2010, but only now an analysis of the remains has been published.

The study was conducted by Australian Dinosaur Museum researcher Dr Matt White through the University of New England in collaboration with the Australian Organisation for Nuclear Science and Technology (ANSTO).

“At the time of death, this freshwater crocodile was about 2.5 meters long. [8.2 feet] is long and still growing,” Dr. White said.

“Although Confractosuchus did not specialize in eating dinosaurs, it would not overlook light food such as the remains of a young ornithopod found in its stomach.”

The Wynton Formation (an area shaded in red) is a thick layer of sedimentary rocks in the Great Artesian Basin and a cemetery of dinosaur remains. The town of Winton is marked with a red circle.

The Wynton Formation (an area shaded in red) is a thick layer of sedimentary rocks in the Great Artesian Basin and a cemetery of dinosaur remains. The town of Winton is marked with a red circle.

Discovered in 2010, C. sauroktonos was partially crushed by a front loader while removing overburden rocks from a sauropod dinosaur excavation site. Numerous small bones exposed in the fracture of the calculus revealed a partial skeleton of a small Cretaceous animal.

Discovered in 2010, C. sauroktonos was partially crushed by a front loader while removing overburden rocks from a sauropod dinosaur excavation site. Numerous small bones exposed in the fracture of the calculus revealed a partial skeleton of a small Cretaceous animal.

According to Dr. White, at the time of his death, the crocodile was about 8.2 feet long and was still growing (pictured with the specimen).

According to Dr. White, at the time of his death, the crocodile was about 8.2 feet long and was still growing (pictured with the specimen).

WINTON: DINOSAUR CEMETERY IN AUSTRALIA

The Winton Formation is a thick layer of sedimentary rocks in the Great Artesian Basin and a cemetery of dinosaur remains.

Each year, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, a non-profit organization and local Vinton Museum, conducts dinosaur excavations near the city.

In 2017, the team discovered the site of a new find by accident, waiting for another place to dry up after a rare rain.

“This site was just littered with shards of bones that didn’t really look like any whole bones, so we tagged the site and came back in 2018 to collect the surface material and excavate it,” said excavation coordinator Bob Elliott.

“Although there were no additional remains below the surface, I was amazed that what we found was only the second fragmentary theropod found in the area,” Dr. White said.

Winton is also home to the world’s only recorded evidence of a panic flight of dinosaurs.

Ornithopods — small, plant-eating, bipedal dinosaurs — have been described as “bird thighs” because of the structure of their pelvis, which looks a bit like a bird’s.

The ornithopod discovered inside C. sauroktonos marks the first skeletal remains of an ornithopod discovered in the Vinton Formation.

At the time of his death, the ornithopod was only a teenager and weighed up to 3.7 pounds (3.7 kg).

The small bones of the ornithopod show signs of fossil articulation, which means that the bones are arranged in the same order as during life.

Thus, C. sauroktonos either directly killed the animal with a fatal bite or quickly destroyed it after death.

During eating, one of the thighs of the ornithopod was cut in half, and the other thigh was bitten so hard that a tooth mark remained on the surface of the bone.

According to Dr. White, this finding suggests that dinosaurs were an integral part of the Cretaceous period as scavengers, predators and prey.

“It’s likely that dinosaurs were an important resource in the Cretaceous ecological food web,” Dr. White said.

“Given the lack of comparable world specimens, this prehistoric crocodile and its final meal will continue to provide clues to the relationships and behaviors of animals that inhabited Australia millions of years ago.”

The specimen was discovered at Eldersley Station, near Vinton, and excavated by staff and volunteers at the Australian Dinosaur Age Museum in 2010.

It includes a nearly complete skull with dentition and a hemispherical postcranial skeleton, although the tail and hind limbs are missing.

During eating, one thigh of the ornithopod was cut in half, and the other thigh was bitten so hard that a tooth mark remained on the surface of the bone. Dr. Matt White points to a bite mark on the femur of an ornithopod printed on a 3D printer.

During eating, one of the thighs of the ornithopod was cut in half, and the other thigh was bitten so hard that a tooth mark remained on the surface of the bone. Dr. Matt White points to a bite mark on the femur of an ornithopod printed on a 3D printer.

A specimen of the crocodile was discovered at Eldersley Station, near Vinton, and excavated by staff and volunteers at the Australian Dinosaur Age Museum in 2010. The fossil preserved in the soft siltstone nodule was partially crushed by a front loader during the removal of overburden rock from the site of sauropod dinosaurs. Judy Elliott (pictured) spent two years unraveling the find together.

A specimen of the crocodile was discovered at Eldersley Station, near Vinton, and excavated by staff and volunteers at the Australian Dinosaur Age Museum in 2010. The fossil preserved in the soft siltstone nodule was partially crushed by a front loader during the removal of overburden rock from the site of sauropod dinosaurs. Judy Elliott (pictured) spent two years unraveling the find together.

The fossil, preserved in a soft siltstone mass called a “nodule,” was partially crushed by a front loader during rock and soil removal.

Numerous small bones exposed in a crushed nodule revealed a partial skeleton of a small cretaceous animal.

The small tightly packed and fragmented bones in the nodule were too fragile for stone to be extracted from them by conventional methods of mechanical preparation.

So, in order to identify the animal, the fragmented calculus was placed in the care of Dr. Joseph Bevitt, a senior researcher at ANSTO.

Dr. Bewitt used neutron and synchrotron X-ray micro-CT technologies to determine where the bones were located in the calculus.

Numerous small bones exposed in a crushed nodule revealed a partial skeleton of a small cretaceous animal. In the photo are the cervical vertebrae of C. sauroktonos.

Numerous small bones exposed in a crushed nodule revealed a partial skeleton of a small cretaceous animal. In the photo are the cervical vertebrae of C. sauroktonos.

The scan data files were then used by Dr. White to digitally prepare the sample, a process that involved ten months of computer processing so that 3D bone reconstruction could be done.

According to Dr. White, the number of bones present in the nodule was “staggering” — a total of 35 percent of the crocodile survived.

The fossilized remains of C. sauroktonos are now on display at the Australian Dinosaur Age Museum, which is located 15 miles from the town of Winton in western Queensland.

The crocodile joins several important specimens at the Australian Dinosaur Age Museum, including Australia’s largest carnivorous dinosaur, Australovenator wintonensis; Australia’s most complete pterosaur is Ferrodraco lentoni; and the bones of the large sauropod species Savannasaurus elliottorum.

The new study was published in Gondwana Research.

CHRONOLOGY OF CROCODILE EVOLUTION

250,000,000 BC – Xylusuchus

Three feet long. 5-10 lbs. They lived in the swamps of east Asia. They ate small animals. Crest of fan-shaped “sails” on the back. They split into prehistoric crocodiles and early dinosaurs.

228,000,000 bc – phytosaurus

He is alive in the early Jurassic period. Most of all refers to crocodiles. Herbivores. They were very similar to modern crocodiles, except that their nostrils were located on the top of the head, and not on the muzzle.

200,000,000 BC – Erpetosuchus

Bipedal. It did not resemble modern crocodiles in either behavior or body shape, except for the shape of the head.

110,000,000 BC – Sarcosuchus

Middle Cretaceous. 40 feet long. 10-15 tons. I ate dinosaurs and fish. They lived in the rivers of Africa. A strange protrusion on the muzzle. He looked and behaved like modern descendants, but was twice as long and about 10 times heavier.

100000 BC – Stomatozuchus

36 feet long. ten tons. He ate plankton and krill with his high, like a pelican, jaw.

80,000,000 BC – Bainosuchus

In Greek, a terrible crocodile. They lived in the rivers of North America. About 33 feet long and 10 tons. They were 6 feet long. long skull. It feeds on fish, mollusks and terrestrial creatures. Fossil evidence suggests that they attacked large North American tyrannosaurs.

70,000,000 bc – champsosaurus

Five feet long, 25-50 pounds long, they ate fish and lived in the rivers of North America and Western Europe. A long narrow profile and a tooth-studded snout. Survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which killed three-quarters of plant and animal species on Earth, including dinosaurs.

65,000,000 bc is a cretaceous-paleogene extinction event.

Non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out, and more than half of the world’s species were wiped out. This mass extinction paved the way for the emergence of mammals and the emergence of humans.

55,000,000 BC – Crocodylidae (modern crocodile)

The modern crocodile, including the marine, Nile, and American variants, has spread around the world. Although it looks prehistoric, it is a highly developed and complex organism that is a successful predator.

23,000 00 BC – Kinkana

Nine feet long, 500 pounds. I ate red meat in the woods. Long curved teeth and long legs, unlike the short legs of the modern crocodile. These crocodiles are constantly getting smaller due to environmental changes.

4 200 000 BC – Crocodile Torbjarnarnarsoni

It is a very close relative of the modern crocodile. A large skull and a small raised border in front of the eyes. Probably prayed for the first people. He lived in the Turkana River basin in Kenya. May be the largest known true crocodile.

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