A giant prehistoric crocodile 150 years hiding in the Museum
Scientists from Edinburgh University examined the remains of a prehistoric marine predator found in the collections of the natural history Museum of London.
It turned out that relatives of modern crocodiles a longer history than previously thought. A study published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
The remains of the ancient predator was kept in the Museum of natural history over the last 150 years. Scientists estimate, the length of the reptile was little more than three meters. A relative of the modern crocodile lived in warm shallow seas on the territory of modern Europe. Powerful jaws and big teeth allowed him to become dominant in the water predator.
Previously it was believed that the subfamily of prehistoric crocodiles (geosaurus) to refer to the new, appeared in the upper division of the Jurassic period 152-157 million years ago. However, the results of the analysis of fossil remains showed that the family of geosaurus emerged millions of years earlier, in the middle section of the Jurassic period. Ancient relative of crocodiles was 163 million years.
The found species of reptiles called Leldraan melkshamensis — “malcheski monster” — in honor of the town of Melksham in the English County of Wiltshire, where paleontologists have found the remains of an ancient predator.
“It’s not the most beautiful fossil in the world, but malcheski monster has shed light on a very important story about the evolution of ancient crocodiles and how they have become major predators in their ecosystem,” said study author David Votta.