Huge crocodiles once ran around on two legs
June 14, 2020 | 10 comments
These are some strange looking crocodiles. Image Credit: Anthony Romilio
Palaeontologists have discovered a prehistoric species of crocodile that walked on two legs instead of four.
Dating back 120 million years to the Cretaceous period, this unusual crocodilian was identified thanks to fossil footprints found at the Sacheon Jahye-ri tracksite in South Korea.
Scientists were drawn to the fact that some of the prints appeared to have been left by the hind feet of a crocodile-like creature, yet there were no corresponding forelimb prints or signs of a dragging tail.
Instead, this unusual species - which has been named Batrachopus grandis
- must have walked on just its hind legs while balancing its forelimbs and tail in the air as it went along.
It's a mode of walking typically seen in theropod dinosaurs rather than in crocodilians.
"Typical crocodiles walk in a squat stance and create trackways that are wide," said lead study author Kyung Soo Kim from the Chinju National University of Education.
"Oddly, our trackways are very narrow looking - more like a crocodile balancing on a tight-rope. When combined with the lack of any tail-drag marks, it became clear that these creatures were moving bipedally."
"They were moving in the same way as many dinosaurs, but the footprints were not made by dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and their bird descendants walk on their toes."
"Crocodiles walk on the flat of their feet leaving clear heel impressions, like humans do."
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