Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yale And University Of Chicago Researchers Discover 40-Foot Crocodile Fossil, Possibly The Largest Known So Far

Date:
November 2, 2001
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The bones of a 40-foot crocodile that dined on dinosaurs and 12-foot-long fish have been discovered by researchers at Yale and at the University of Chicago in the Cretaceous rocks in Niger, Africa.

The bones of a 40-foot crocodile that dined on dinosaurs and 12-foot-long fish have been discovered by researchers at Yale and at the University of Chicago in the Cretaceous rocks in Niger, Africa.

Related Articles


The crocodile weighed about 16,000 pounds and is called Sarcosuchus imperator. It was first described about 30 years ago by a French team, which found a partial skull. Since that initial discovery, virtually nothing had been done with the species until fieldwork by researchers in 1997 and 2000 produced three adult skulls measuring almost six feet long, three juvenile skulls and some associated postcranial or body skeletal elements.

The team consisted of Hans Larsson, now a postdoctoral fellow in Yale University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, formerly of the University of Chicago; his graduate advisor Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago and others. Their results will be published online by the journal Science at the Science Express website on October 25 at 2 p.m. See http://www.sciencexpress.org

"The juvenile skulls are between three and four feet long, if you can call that juvenile," said Larsson. "Our calculations in the Science paper estimate the total adult body length to be between 39 and 42 feet long, probably the largest crocodile known so far."

The team sectioned the bony plates in the skin called scutes and found that the animals lived for about 42 years before reaching the large adult size. They estimate that the large adults lived to at least 50 years old. The Cretaceous rocks, where the crocodiles were found, are about 110 million years old and were deposited on the shores of an inland sea in a tropical environment in central Niger-now part of the Tenere Desert, which is a large section of the Sahara Desert.

Larsson said S. imperator is not a direct ancestor of modern crocodiles, but it is a close cousin. It most resembles the endangered Gharial crocodiles, which are found in India. The distinguishing feature of both the modern Gharial and the S. imperator is a rounded mass of flesh at the tip of the long snout that is used for vocalization. Gharial crocodiles are also the most primitive modern crocodiles. The largest modern crocodiles include the salt-water crocodile and Gharial, which have been recorded up to 24 feet in length.

The team's expeditions in Africa have also recovered numerous new dinosaur finds in Morocco and older rocks in Niger.

Other researchers on the study include Christian A. Sidor of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and Boubacar Gado of the Institut pour Recherche et Science Humaine, Niamey, Republic of Niger.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Yale And University Of Chicago Researchers Discover 40-Foot Crocodile Fossil, Possibly The Largest Known So Far." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011101060724.htm>.
Yale University. (2001, November 2). Yale And University Of Chicago Researchers Discover 40-Foot Crocodile Fossil, Possibly The Largest Known So Far. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011101060724.htm
Yale University. "Yale And University Of Chicago Researchers Discover 40-Foot Crocodile Fossil, Possibly The Largest Known So Far." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011101060724.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins