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Palaeontology

Huge bipedal crocodile predated dinosaurs

March 19, 2015 | Comment icon 21 comments



The ancient reptile was at the top of its game. Image Credit: PD - Vassil
A ferocious crocodile that walked on two legs proved a fearsome predator before the age of the dinosaurs.
Crocodiles are now the world's largest living reptiles, but 230 million years ago before the dinosaurs came to dominate the planet there were several species of reptile with a ferocity that would have put even the deadliest of today's crocodilians to shame.

One such creature was Carnufex carolinensis, a large crocodile that measured up to 9ft in length, a tremendous size for its time. What made it particularly terrifying however was the fact that it actually walked around on land using its two hind legs.

Its name, which translates to "Carolina Butcher", was given to it after fossils were discovered in a quarry in North Carolina, a region that was once covered in warm, wet swamplands.
"When we got the bones out and prepared them, we found out that it was actually a really cool species," said Lindsay Zanno from the North Carolina State University.

"It was one of the oldest and largest members of crocodylomorph - the same group that crocodiles belong to - that we've ever seen. And that size was really surprising."

At a time when most crocodiles were relatively small and far lower down on the food chain than they are today, Carnufex would have been a force to be reckoned with.

Source: Washington Post | Comments (21)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Holographic60 7 years ago
Regarding the "Reptilian Brain" in humans... http://www.crystalin...ilianbrain.html
Comment icon #13 Posted by Ashyne 7 years ago
So it seems these bipedal crocodiles eventually evolved into the Reptilians who built spaceships and left the planet to survive the Mass Extinction and then returned to Earth in the UFO sightings we see today. Maybe they want to retake the Earth.
Comment icon #14 Posted by aquatus1 7 years ago
I dunno. I look at all these illustrations of bipedal dinosaurs and I just can't see their centers of gravity being over their rear legs. I keep expecting them to fall over forward. Has anyone ever actually worked out where the CG on these critters would be? Strangely enough: .
Comment icon #15 Posted by ChaosRose 7 years ago
I'm immediately thinking of the crocodile clock tower in the movie Hook.
Comment icon #16 Posted by xthedemonx 7 years ago
That is one bad a** lizard.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Zalmoxis 7 years ago
I read this article on Google yesterday. I guess, as they characterize this reptile, it would've appeared much like Godzilla. Disappeared before the dinosaurs appeared. So you could say that crocodiles and the crocodiles ancestors retain all the qualities of a dinosaur but they are not a dinosaur.
Comment icon #18 Posted by F3SS 7 years ago
I noticed the illustration showed the animal as a tail dragger, much like the old ideas of some of the Sauropod dinosaurs. Is it likely a bipedal animal would drag its tail, it would soon be bloody from wear? Really tough scales, plates, callouses. Probably scales to callouses that start developing at the beginning of their life which is plenty of time to develop some under tail armor that could also decay without leaving a fossil. How long would a big dinosaur like the have lived anyway? 50, 100, 200 years? Plates would probably have fossil record by now.
Comment icon #19 Posted by SameerPrehistorica 7 years ago
What a name...... Carolina Butcher.
Comment icon #20 Posted by F3SS 7 years ago
I meant to ask above... A big dinosaur like the Trex...
Comment icon #21 Posted by Galahad 7 years ago
I'm thinking about Godzilla now..don't really know why.


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