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5 "Oddball" Crocs Found in Sahara Desert

A strange assortment of prehistoric crocodilyform fossils have been found in Africa. Crocodilyforms are ancient cousins of today’s alligators, crocodiles, and caimans.

For instance, the rodent-like RatCroc had buckteeth for rooting through the ground after tubers or simple animals.

The flat-bodied PancakeCroc was the “ultimate sit-and-wait predator,” Sereno said. The animal would lie motionless and “wait for something stupid” to swim into its rail-thin, 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) jaws, which were lined with rows of spiky teeth.

DuckCroc had a long, smooth, sensitive nose to poke through vegetation as well as hook-shaped teeth to snag frogs and small fish in shallow water.

And the plant-eating DogCroc had lanky legs that meant it was likely spry enough to run into the water if threatened.

By far the mightiest of the lot, BoarCroc was a 20-foot-long (6.1-meter-long) “saber-toothed cat in armor” that ate dinosaurs for dinner.

DuckCroc and DogCroc were previously known to scientists, and the rest are new discoveries by a team headed by Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago. The expedition found fossils of all five in Niger and Morocco. Link (with video) -via Digg

(image credit: Mike Hettwer/National Geographic)

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November 20th, 2009

Stranger to the World


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