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An ancient fossil crocodile coated in armadillo-like body armor was unveiled yesterday at an environmental museum in Brazil.
Dubbed Armadillosuchus arrudai, the newly described species of crocodile roamed the arid interior of Brazil about 90 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, scientists said.
It was 6.6 feet (2 meters) long, weighed about 265 pounds (120 kilograms), and had a relatively wide head with a narrow, toothy snout.
Body armor has never been "found in any other fossil or living crocodile species," Ismar de Souza Carvalho, a paleontologist at the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, said via email.
And "the strangeness did not stop there," Thiago Marinho, a paleontologist with the Federal University, added in an email. "This crocodyliform could [chew] like mammals do, like we do."
Most modern crocs simply use their powerful jaws to clamp down on their prey. But the fossil crocodile could move its lower jaw forward and backward, using its teeth to tear into dried meat, roots, pine branches, and mollusks, Marinho said.
Now that is a wild find!