Monday, November 21, 2005

Ancient 'Godzilla' crocodile found in Argentina

Paleontologists in Argentina have uncovered the fossil remains of a new and huge species of crocodile that terrorized the oceans 135 million years ago, nicknaming it Godzilla.

Unlike present-day crocodiles, the Dakosaurus andeniensis lived entirely under water and had fins instead of legs, said Ohio State University researcher Diego Pol, who determined that the creature was an ancestor of the crocodile.

Discovered at the southern tip of South America in 1996 by paleontologists Zulma Gasparini and Luis Spalletti of the University of La Plata, in Argentina, the three fossils were identified using an advanced computer program, Science magazine reported on Friday.

Besides its fins, the ancient crocodile had two other features: its size -- it was four meters (13 feet) in length -- and its head, similar in size to that of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the fiercest meat-eating dinosaur of all.

Its the size of the animal that makes it a "Godzilla", explained Pol, adding that contemporaries of Dakosaurus andenienis were smaller and more delicate, with long, skinny snouts and needle-like teeth for catching small fish and mollusks.

IDK if Godzilla is quite right with the mosasaurs running around, the rest here.

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