They say that in Texas, they do it bigger, and according to archaeologists, the same may have held true even 95 million years ago. Recently, a professor at the University of Tennessee identified a new species of crocodile from fossil remains discovered in Arlington in 2003. This prehistoric crocodile grew up to 20 feet long and is believed to have eaten dinosaurs for lunch. The discovery is helping advance our knowledge of what life was like during the Cretaceous period in the area that is now known as Texas.
New Prehistoric Crocodile Offers a Better Understanding of Cretaceous Life
The new croc species was named the Deltasuchus motherali. This title incorporates the name of the volunteer that discovered the crocodile remains at a dig site back in 2003. It took nearly ten years to unearth the fossil. This was found at the Arlington Archosaur site, which is the source of several new species that were previously unknown. Archaeologists are looking to learn as much as they can from the site before it becomes absorbed into the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
This new find is helping archaeologists paint a clearer picture of what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Cretaceous period. Science’s knowledge about this time period is limited, and the fossil record is minimal. At the time, the region which holds the site was part of a shallow sea. The crocodile, which is considered to have been a top-predator, was discovered in what must have been a peninsula.
This recent unearthing of the giant prehistoric crocodile adds to the depth of knowledge about the Cretaceous period life in southern Texas. Scientists consider the Arlington Archosaur site to be a valuable resource as they are learning more about the geologic period that would eventually end with the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, time is running out and eventually, the site will be inaccessible as construction might erase this part of the fossil record forever.
“We simply don’t have that many North American fossils from the middle of the Cretaceous, the last period of the age of dinosaurs, and the eastern half of the continent is particularly poorly understood,” states the research team.
Details on this discovery were released in a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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