Dinosaurs, those monsters who ruled for millions of years, feared something. It happened at the end of the Cretaceous Period. At that time there was an inland sea in what is now North America. The dinosaurs came unprepared to drink. Little did they know that death haunted them. A death in the form of a terrible and violent attack. It was nothing short of Deinosuchus, the crocodile who ate dinosaur.
It was the largest carnivore in this semi-aquatic environment. Its teeth were the size of bananas. They could stab the most careless of dinosaurs and cause massive damage. Its body resembled that of a current crocodile. But it was 10 meters long.
The fossils of the genus Deinosuchus They have been studied since 1850. But there is a new discovery about it. A research was published in Vertebrate Paleontology by scientists from the University of Iowa. She concludes that there are three types in this group rather than two as previously believed. Is about D. riograndensis, D. hatcheri and a new one D. schwimmeri.
«Deinosuchus He was a real giant. It must have scared the dinosaurs who came to the water’s edge to live, ”says Adam Cossette. He is a study director and researcher at the New York Institute of Technology. Until now, the full size of this creature was unknown. But with the specimens we examined, we revealed it. It was a strange and monstrous predator with teeth the size of a banana. «
Cossette explains how the three types of Deinosuchus stood up. It was following a geological process that divided the North American inland sea in half. Three different environments were formed in which all three species evolved over time.
These creatures are some of the largest and most terrifying crocodiles that ever existed. Christopher Brochu is co-author of the work. He says the existence of these three species shows that “crocodiles are not“ living fossils. ”Not that they have not changed since the time of the dinosaurs, but that they evolved as dynamically as any other group.
The researchers conclude from this D. riograndensis and D. hatcheri They lived in western North America. It must have been between Montana and the northern part of Mexico. AND D. schwimmeri He lived on the Atlantic coast between New Jersey and Mississippi.
The fossils show that they were the kings of their time. “There was nothing bigger when you lived in the eastern US,” said David Schwimmer. He is a researcher who is not involved in the study. But his name is the origin of the name of the new species. It pays homage to his significant contributions in the field.
Bites from millions of years
According to Schwimmer, there is a big open question. There are large stains on the teeth of Deinosuchus in dinosaur bones. Yes, but it is not known if they did it while hunting or simply cleaning up.
“I bet they were predators,” says Schwimmer. “That creature was big enough to kill most of the dinosaurs. In addition, we found most of the markings in the bones of the legs and tails. Exactly where you would catch them if you wanted to catch a dinosaur ».
Yes, the crocodile that ate dinosaurs must have been a real monster. The ferocity of their attacks continued to this day on the remains of their prey. As if he wanted to perpetuate the terror he triggered.