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Old 11-11-2005, 11:02 PM   #1
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Ancient 'Godzilla' crocodile discovered

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FROM: CBC NEWS ONLINE
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Ancient 'Godzilla' crocodile discovered
Last Updated Thu, 10 Nov 2005 17:20:24 EST
_CBC News_ (http://www.cbc.ca/news/credit.html)

A Jurassic-age crocodile had the massive jaws and jagged teeth needed to hunt
large sea prey, paleontologists say.
The crocodile, nicknamed Godzilla, was nearly four metres long with a short
snout like a T. rex, four fins and a vertical, fishlike tail.
The largest teeth in the fossilized skull of the crocodile are about 10
centimetres long. (Courtesy: Diego Pol, Ohio State University)
Other marine crocodiles from about 135 million years ago had long, thin
snouts and needle-like teeth to catch small fish and mollusks, said Diego Pol,
one of the authors of the study in Thursday's online edition of the journal
Science.
"This croc was just the opposite," said Pol, a postdoctoral researcher at
Ohio Statue University. "It was definitely a predator of large sea creatures."
The crocodile probably used its serrated teeth to devour prey, similar to
dinosaurs and predatory reptiles, he said. The researchers say the
80-centimetre-long fossil represents a new species, Dakosaurus andiniensis.
Pol concluded the large crocodile is more closely related to smaller species,
given the shape of its nostrils, eye sockets, skull and a groove in its jaw.

Palentologist Zulma Gasparini of Argentina's National University of La Plata
discovered the skull in 1996 in the province of Patagonia.
The creature swam between 230 million and 65 million years ago in what was
then a deep tropical bay of the Pacific Ocean.
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