Jeanna Bryner LiveScience Staff Writer LiveScience.comWed Mar 21, 4:30 PM ET
The fossil of an ancient amphibious reptile with a crocodile's body and a fish's tail has been unearthed in Oregon. Scientists believe the creature's remains were transported by geologic processes nearly 5,000 miles away from where it originally died more than 100 million years ago.
The new fossil is the oldest crocodilian ever unearthed in Oregon and one of the few to be unearthed on this side of the Pacific. The “hybrid” animal is thought to be a new species within the genus Thalattosuchia, a group of crocodilians living during the age of dinosaurs.
The reptile roamed a tropical environment in Asia about 142 to 208 million years ago. Called a Thalattosuchian, the amphibious creature [image] represents an early milestone in evolutionary history, marking a transition during which these reptiles moved from being semi-aquatic to wholly ocean species.