posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 11:06 AM
05 August 2010
Crocodiles weren't always so snappy. A new fossil shows that their ancient relatives chewed their food, rather than swallowing great chunks of it.
The diminutive fossil belongs to a previously unknown species of crocodile-like reptile from the Cretaceous called Pakasuchus kapilami – after the
Swahili word for cat, paka, and the Greek word for crocodile, souchos. It has surprised palaeontologists with its sophisticated mammal-like teeth.
Pakasuchus lived between 65 and 144 million years ago in what is now southern Tanzania. It was just 55 centimetres long, had long legs, and belonged
to the notosuchians – a group of reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators.
Pakasuchus was a fast-moving, almost dog-like creature (Image: Mark Witton, University of Portsmouth)
This suggests that jaws carrying a smaller number of specialised teeth evolved at least twice: in one group of ancient reptiles, and in early
Palaeobiologist David Norman of the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the study, says this has not been seen before in crocodiles or
their ancestors. Their long legs are consistent with other evidence that crocodilians were not originally aquatic animals
What is interesting is that crocodiles may have evolved from mammals into reptiles, stands to reason as they could very well be in the Dinosaur