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Meet the giant crocodile that terrorised Jurassic-era Madagascar


The huge crocodile-like Razanandrongobe sakalavae had teeth much like those of a Tyrannosaurus rex.


This is a paleoartistic restoration of the head of Razanandrongobe sakalavae. Unlike extant crocodilians, this terrestrial predator had a deep skull.
This is a paleoartistic restoration of the head of Razanandrongobe sakalavae. Unlike extant crocodilians, this terrestrial predator had a deep skull.
Fabio Manucci

New research on fossils from Madagascar by Italian and French paleontologists has uncovered a previously unknown Jurassic beast. The research is published in PeerJ.

With deep and massive jaw bones and gigantic, serrated teeth – much like those of a Tyrannosaurus rexRazanandrongobe sakalavae was undoubtedly a fearsome predator 165 million years ago.

The researchers have placed it in the Notosuchian clade, a group of crocodylomorphs that lived in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods whose fossils have been found across modern-day South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

This fossil, however, is some 42 million years older than the previous oldest known Notosuchian. The new species is also the largest Notosuchian yet found.

Razanandrongobe sakalavae with a human for scale.
Razanandrongobe sakalavae with a human for scale.
Fabio Manucci

Cosmos reporter is a contributor to Cosmos Magazine
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