Paleontologists VS Mega Croc: Bus-Sized Predator Unearthed in Africa

Paleontologists VS Mega Croc: Bus-Sized Predator Unearthed in Africa

The fossilized remains of an immense predator may have belonged to the largest sea-bound crocodilian of all time.

It is hard for us in the present to picture the great Sahara desert, a famously dry, hot, and inhospitable patch of planet, as once being the bottom of an immense ocean. Yet, the huge desert holds many fossilized treasures from its time as a sea floor - some of the most complete fossils of marine life have been uncovered beneath its dunes.

To wit, meet Machimosaurus rex, one of the biggest marine predators of the Jurassic era. Its bones were discovered in the southern tip of Tunisia by a team of paleontologists, and though the remains are fragmentary, enough exists for it to be named the largest of a peculiar species of crocodilians that spent its entire life at sea.

Rex was a sleek and toothy ambush predator, and at 10 metres was roughly the size of a bus - which might explain the sudden disappearance of Ms. Frizzle's 6th grade class. Frighteningly, it was not quite as large as its gigantic freshwater cousins, who could grow up to 12 metres and weighed up to eight metric tonnes.

In the gallery below, you can check out the size comparisons between some of M. rex's relatives and an unsuspecting human diver. Thanks, illustrator! Very helpful!

Something curious about this discovery is that it muddies the water, so to speak, about the Jurassic-Cretaceous divide. It has long been theorized that a massive exinction event took place about 120 million years ago, ending the Jurassic, but M. rex's placement in the geological time scale seems to bridge the gap. This suggests that some large animals, particularly marine ones, managed to survive whatever happened.

Crocodilians may not have always thrived through evolutionary history, but their persistence tells us they must be doing something right. Next time a comet collides with Earth, it'll just be crocodiles and cockroaches, conquering the rubble. Crockroaches! Oh man, I've gotta call Syfy immediately.

Source: National Geographic, Cretaceous Research

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So it's as big as two Salties, laid end to end.

That would be one hell of a pair of boots, assuming you could afford to go hunting with a PT boat and find a crew brave/dumb enough to man the guns.

I was initially confused by this, because I was led to believe that Sarcosuchus was the biggest known crocodilian... then I read more.

But I'm still surprised that this salt water croc is the smaller species... maybe there's an even bigger saltie ancestor still to be found. That would be awesome.

PatrickJS:
Oh man, I've gotta call Syfy immediately.

"CrocRoach!" Let's get on this.

So actually it's more accurate to say buses are crocodile sized cars.

so 12 meters is what, 36 feet? A meter is roughly a yard right? Also metric tons, how many thousands of pounds is that?

Ah, I see that once again a paleontological discovery that is in no way new information is being treated as new information. *ahem*:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purussaurus

We have know about gargantuan crocodiles like this for quite a while.

one of godzillas foes no doubt!! he got owned!

Xan Krieger:
so 12 meters is what, 36 feet? A meter is roughly a yard right? Also metric tons, how many thousands of pounds is that?

It's just shy of 40'. 1m is just over 3' (3.2').

I too live in a country that interchangeably uses metric and imperial measurements quite happily.

CrimsonBlack:
I too live in a country that interchangeably uses metric and imperial measurements quite happily.

Liberia?

OT; At least this beast was not discovered in Australia. We probably had enough problems way back then.

bigfatcarp93:
Ah, I see that once again a paleontological discovery that is in no way new information is being treated as new information. *ahem*:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purussaurus

We have know about gargantuan crocodiles like this for quite a while.

I think the point of the article was that a new species of giant crocdylomorph was found, not that it's the first of it's kind.

OT: What interests me about the scientific article it's sourced from is that it talks about the supposed mass Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and whether or not it's real, even though I don't ever remember hearing about such an event. I mean extinction is a constant thing, and although the dramatic changes that occurred to the earth's climate between these periods would have certainly caused extinction to increase I don't think anyone would consider it a MASS extinction... weird.

Also, Crocroach is awesome.

PunkRex:

bigfatcarp93:
Ah, I see that once again a paleontological discovery that is in no way new information is being treated as new information. *ahem*:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purussaurus

We have know about gargantuan crocodiles like this for quite a while.

I think the point of the article was that a new species of giant crocdylomorph was found, not that it's the first of it's kind.

OT: What interests me about the scientific article it's sourced from is that it talks about the supposed mass Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and whether or not it's real, even though I don't ever remember hearing about such an event. I mean extinction is a constant thing, and although the dramatic changes that occurred to the earth's climate between these periods would have certainly caused extinction to increase I don't think anyone would consider it a MASS extinction... weird.

Also, Crocroach is awesome.

Well, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that that's the entire way we divide periods; based on Mass Extinctions. Ergo, there would be one between every two periods. For instance, where did all those big, North American diplodocids go? And most rhamphorynchids?

bigfatcarp93:

PunkRex:

bigfatcarp93:
Ah, I see that once again a paleontological discovery that is in no way new information is being treated as new information. *ahem*:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinosuchus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purussaurus

We have know about gargantuan crocodiles like this for quite a while.

I think the point of the article was that a new species of giant crocdylomorph was found, not that it's the first of it's kind.

OT: What interests me about the scientific article it's sourced from is that it talks about the supposed mass Jurassic-Cretaceous extinction event and whether or not it's real, even though I don't ever remember hearing about such an event. I mean extinction is a constant thing, and although the dramatic changes that occurred to the earth's climate between these periods would have certainly caused extinction to increase I don't think anyone would consider it a MASS extinction... weird.

Also, Crocroach is awesome.

Well, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that that's the entire way we divide periods; based on Mass Extinctions. Ergo, there would be one between every two periods. For instance, where did all those big, North American diplodocids go? And most rhamphorynchids?

You're right, that's true, and I'm a big dumb for forgetting that.

 

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