Massive ancient crocodile unearthed in Tunisia

Palaeontologists have unearthed a massive ancient crocodile that would have weighed in at 3,000 kilograms and been nearly 10 metres long – twice as big as any of its modern cousins.

It would have looked every similar to today’s crocodiles, but with a much narrower snout.

Named Machimosaurus rex it would have lived in the ocean 130 million years ago as the apex predator.

“This is an incredibly big crocodile. It is twice as big as a present day marine crocodile,” University of Bologna’s Federico Fanti, who was part of the team that made the discovery with support from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration, told FoxNews.com.

“The skull itself is as big I am,” said Fanti, whose discovery was detailed in a study in the journal Cretaceous Research. “Just the skull is more than five feet (152 centimetres) long. It’s a massive crocodile.”
The skeleton was found in Tunisia in an area that would have been a lagoon facing the ocean. The remains of the many huge fish and turtles that would have been the crocodiles main prey were also found in the area.

In all Fanti and his team have discovered 20 new species there.

A drawing of the skull of the ancient crocodile and to scale with a human.
Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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