The crocodile would even have been a competitor for the dinosaurs standing at the top of the food chain.
Scientists discovered the remains of the giant crocodile in Madagascar. The crocodile would have walked on Earth at the time of the Jurassic (about 201 to 145 million years ago).
Big and strong
And there are strong indications that the crocodile was able to scare the giant animals that lived at that same time. The crocodile was gigantic (see the picture below).
In addition, in the jaws are teeth in shape and size, similar to those of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Strong indications show that these crocodiles regular eat hard tissues, such as bones and tendons.
The crocodile belongs to the kind of Razanandrongobe sakalavae. The species was described in 2006 but are still in nebulae.
For years, it became unclear whether they belonged to the crocodylomorpha (a group of archosaurians belonging to the crocodiles and extinct relatives) or the theropoda (a group of predominantly carnivorous bipolar dinosaurs).
Now that rests of R. sakalavae have been found, researchers can create more clarity about it.
In the magazine PeerJ, you can be read that a combination of anatomical properties indisputably shows that R. sakalavae belongs to the crocodile species. To be exact, R. sakalavae can be counted as Notosuchia.
According to the researchers, it is by far the oldest – and possibly also the largest – member of the Notosuchia.
Starting at the site of R. sakalavae, researchers thought that they only occurred in Madagascar. During the time that R. sakalavae lived, Madagascar had already untied itself from Gondwana.
“At the same time, it points out that Notosuchia originated in the southern part of Gondwana,” says researcher Simone Maganuco.
Previously, other similar Notosuchia fossils have been found in South America, but these are millions of years younger than the remains of R. sakalavae.