Scientists have identified a whole new species of crocodile that had millions of years of body characteristics of various crocus families and was scouring the depths of the ocean.
The discovery, which gives new insights into the evolutionary history of the marine predator, was made after a group of paleontologists had studied a fossil found in 1996 from a Hungarian mountain range. It was kept in a museum in Budapest, but when the group analyzed the features on the bones, they were surprised.
The group found the odd-looking vortex of the specimen formed part of its caudal fin. This appeared to be a mixture of features from two different Jurassic-era crocodile families ̵
The group believes that this could be a link between the two species, which harbors a little bit of both properties – the bone armor and the caudal fin.
"This Fossil provides a unique insight into how crocodiles evolved into dolphin and killer whale-like shapes more than 180 million years ago," said co-author Mark Young of Edinburgh University's School of GeoSciences in a statement "The presence of bone armor and caudal fin highlights the remarkable variety of Jurassic crocodiles."
Among other things, the research team noted that the specimen is also one of the largest coastal predators of the Jurassic period. According to her analysis, she had sharp, pointed teeth to hunt smaller animals and be over 15 to 16 feet long. In honor of Attila Fitos, the amateur fossil collector who discovered the crocodile fossil, the new species was called Magyarosuchus fitosi.
The work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust and the SYNTHESYS project, which is part of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program. Crocodiles are among the oldest species of vertebrates and serve as a crucial link between the age of dinosaurs and today's birds. Scientists believe that they have barely changed over millions of years and may be the best source to learn more about extinct dinosaurs and the evolution of birds.
In fact, a group of scientists recently played Bach's classic for a group of small crocodiles to see how the animals' brains responded to complex sounds.
"Analyzes of crocodile brains thus provide deep insights into the evolution of the mammalian nervous system and can help us to understand where specific brain structures and behaviors originated," said Felix Ströckens, the lead researcher behind the work an opinion.
The study titled "A New Large-scale Thalattosuchian Crocodyliform from the Lower Jurassic (Toarcian) of Hungary, with Further Evidence for the Mosaic Acquisition of Marine Adaptations in Metriorhynchoidea," was published on May 10 in the journal PeerJ.