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Fossils of a primitive land crocodile with mammalian teeth found

cocodrilo-mamiferoA fossil ofan ancient species of crocodile with mammalian dental featuresIt has been discovered in the Rukwa split in Tanzania (Africa). His finding “has changed the image of animal life 100 million years ago in today’s sub-Saharan Africa,” according to a study published this week in the magazine.Nature.

“If you only look at its teeth you would not think that it is a crocodile, rather you would wonderwhat a strange mammal or reptile with mammalian features it is“explains Patrick O’Connor, professor of anatomy at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Ohio (United States).

Scientists have described this new species, baptized asPakasuchus, like a small animal that was not as heavy as current crocodiles, except for its tail. “Its head could fit in the palm of your hand,” said O’Connor, who found a complete specimen in 1998 and has now recovered parts from seven different individuals. Other aspects of its anatomy suggest that it was a mainly terrestrial animal, with great mobility, thatIt fed on insects and other small creatures.

At first, what puzzled the experts most was the series ofteethfound, withsharp edges for chewing food, similar to the molars of carnivorous mammals, puzzled the experts. “Once we are able to study these teeth closely, we will realize that we have discovered something new and very exciting,” says O’Connor.

The new species belongs to a secondary branch of the crocodile lineage that lived during the Mesozoic. Scientists estimate that these creatures were abundantbetween 110 million and 80 million years ago.



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