New Species Of Prehistoric Crocodile Identified In Texas

About 95 million years ago, a giant relative of modern crocodiles, the Deltasuchus motherali, ruled the coasts and waterways of what would one day become the center of North Texas, according to a recent study of the University of Tennessee , published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology . The team of researchers has identified this species and has found that the adults reached more than six meters in length and, based on the bite marks discovered in the fossilized bones of the animals, they fed on everything they had left by hand, from turtles to dinosaurs.

Scientists found the bones in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the name it receives north of the city of Texas. The archaeological site in which the new species, dubbed the Arlington Archosaur Site,  was discovered in Arlington, Texas in 2003 by amateur hunters. Paleontologists have been working with local volunteers and fossil enthusiasts to excavate the site over the last decade. “We do not have many American fossils since the middle of the Cretaceous period, the last period of the dinosaur era. Archaeological Archosaur Site fossils are helping fill this void and Deltasuchus is only the first of several new species to be reported from the  locality, “they say.

Deltasuchus motheraliwas named in honor of one of the volunteers of the site, Austin Motheral, who first discovered the fossils of this crocodile with a small tractor when he was only 15 years old. This species is the first of several possible new species described here. The area retains a complete ancient ecosystem that stretches from 95 million to 100 million years, and its fossils are important in advancing the understanding of ancient North America and freshwater ecosystems. While most of Texas was covered by a shallow sea at that time, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was part of a large peninsula that protruded from the northeast. The peninsula was a lush setting of river deltas and swamps that replete with wildlife, including dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, mammals, amphibians,

Work on the site is supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society, which is funding the continued excavations and study of this area. Site fossils, including Deltasuchus Bones , are part of the Perot Museum’s collections of nature and science in Dallas.

A team of Swiss and US paleontologists has discovered a super-hunter fossil that lived during the Triassic period (about 252-247 million years ago). The remains of the animal were found in the state of Nevada and the research was  published  in July in the  Journal of Paleontology. The new study describes a new species of bergeri fish, Birgeria americana, whose representatives inhabited the Upper Triassic, just after the mass extinction. It was one of the largest birgeri, with a length of 1.8 m. The formation of its longer teeth, which reached 2 cm, shows that it was a super-hunter fish. It is presumed that his method of hunting consisted in reaching his prey and destroying it in pieces, instead of swallowing it whole. Researchers point out that the water temperature in the low latitudes at the beginning of the Triassic, where these fish lived, did not rise above 36 ° C, the physiological limit on which actinopterigian fish can develop their eggs.

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About the Author: Dee Baker

Dee Baker holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Dee writes primarily on Canadian political issues.

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