Prehistoric crocs offer clues to past - Macleans.ca
 

Prehistoric crocs offer clues to past

Ferocious BoarCroc ran upright, had jaw built for ramming


 

What’s now the Sahara desert was once a swampy world rife with prehistoric beasts, including at least half a dozen species of unusual‹and maybe intelligent‹crocodiles, Reuters reports. These crocs, says a report unveiled this week, include the 20-foot-long BoarCroc, with boar-like tusks; RatCroc, which used a buck-toothed lower jaw to grub for food; and PancakeCroc, with a big, flat head. “Each of the crocs apparently had different diets, different behaviors. It appears they had divided up the ecosystem, each species taking advantage of it in its own way,” said McGill University paleontologist Hans Larsson, who worked on the study. “They may have had slightly more sophisticated brain function than living crocs because active hunting on land usually requires more brain power than merely waiting for prey to show up.² The crocs lived during the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago), when the continents were closer together, and the world was much warmer and wetter. “Their amphibious talents in the past may be the key to understanding how they flourished in, and ultimately survived, the dinosaur era,” The University of Chicago¹s Paul Sereno, who worked with Larsson on the find, wrote in an article for National Geographic.

Reuters


 
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