New crocodile ancestor confirmed
One of the earliest predecessors to crocodiles has been formally recognised as coming from an ancient predator, which roamed the world long before the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham, the Natural History Museum and Virginia Tech University studied the archosaur fossil, which was first discovered as a set of fossils in the 1960s in southern Tanzania.
Named Mambawakale ruhuhu, the animal would have roamed across Tanzania 240 million years ago, and had a large skull more than 75 cm in length, particularly large nostrils, a notably narrow lower jaw and strong variation in the sizes of the teeth at the front of the upper jaws.
Richard Butler, Professor of Palaeobiology at the University, says: 'Identifying this animal helps us to understand the rapid early diversification of archosaurs and enables us to add a link to the evolutionary story of modern-day crocodiles.'
Picture credit: Gabriel Ugueto