The ancestor of the crocodile that terrorized dinosaurs

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It existed about 165 million years ago, an animal with a ton, able to crush bones. He lived on the island of Madagascar. Razanandrongobe sakalavae, also known as “Razana”, was officially confirmed as being a distant relative of modern crocodiles.

Well in the past, in the Jurassic period, about 165 million years ago, this animal strolled on the island of Madagascar, was the most feared predator in the area, Razanandrongobe sakalavae, a distant relative of crocodiles. “Razana” was very fast, had legs straight and was the nightmare of the dinosaurs.

At that time, the island of Madagascar was not yet tectonically separated from India and Africa and had already become a home to the great diversity of reptiles and dinosaurs that existed there. The fragmented remains of the “Razana” fossil are now described in a survey of Italian and French paleontologists. This species was first documented about a decade ago, however, due to fossil limitations, its specification remained unknown.

The latest study published this week in the journal PeerJ, pointed out with the discovery and help of new fossils of jaws and teeth found that the “largest terrestrial carnivore of this ecosystem” was indeed a relative reptile of modern crocodiles and alligators. In addition to their forward-facing nostrils and the formation of the lower jaw, the “Razana” also had laterally expanded teeth, and these evidences bring them closer to the crocodiles.

According to the publication, their jaws were robust, but possibly short, and the broad, serrated teeth (larger than T. Rex and other similar sized dinosaurs) allowed drilling of very hard tissues such as bones and Tendons. Many of the characteristics of this species, including their dentition, suggest that the feeding of the reptile was the basis of these foods.

“Razana” could “overcome theropod dinosaurs – bipeds, carnivores and omnivores – at the top of the food chain,” said Cristiano Dal Sasso, a paleontologist at the Museum of Natural History in Milan, in a statement. Investigators are still hoping to find some more bones to try to complete the skeleton, but excavations in these areas of Madagascar are difficult to access. Deepening this research will help fill the “ghost” lineage in this group by discovering other examples from the Jurassic period.

“We started with isolated teeth and bone fragments and ended up bringing back to life a one-ton bone crusher,” added Cristiano Dal Sasso.

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