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Planet Earth

Jurassic Godzilla Found

Marine croc was T.rex of the seas.

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 Photo, Robert Clark; art by DAMNFX/© 2005 National Geographic

A fossil skull of D. andiniensis, a crocodyliform found in Argentina, alongside a digitized model of the beast. The serrated teeth and wide jaw suggests, unlike other marine crocs that fed on small fish and mollusks, this animal devoured its prey in a manner similar to predatory dinosaurs.

The remains of a new 13-foot-long, 140-million-year-old marine crocodile were recently excavated from a Patagonian basin. Technically known as Dakossaurus andiniensis, the animal was nicknamed Godzilla by the US-Argentian team that found it for its massive size and frightening predatory capabilities. Contemporary crocodiles had long, slim snouts and tiny teeth for feeding on small fish, but D. andieniensis probably used its massive foot-long jaws and four-inch serrated teeth to bring down large ocean vertebrates. Unlike modern crocs, it had fins instead of legs and spent all its time in the ocean. Researchers say the ferocious behavior indicated by the animal's morphology represents a surprising new branch of the marine crocodile family tree. More from sciencemag.org

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