Croc with a Canine Style Skull
A new discovery from the late Cretaceous period.
Crocodile with a dog-style skull and long limbs
a recently discovered crocodile fossil head looks like a dog. To the rest of us – as well as croc’s prey of the day – it looks like a ferocious toothy nightmare.
Named Pissarrachampsa sera, the fossil was discovered by a municipal worker in 70-million-year-old Cretaceous sediments in a small town in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Sent to check it out by the Society of Paleontology in Brazil, Langer and Montefeltro realized they had something very special. The three collaborators have documented their observations in the July 2011 issue of PLoS One.
Familiar with Hans Larsson’s work on crocodiles and dinosaurs, Montefeltro got a study grant from the Brazilian government and brought the fossil to Larsson’s lab at McGill’s Redpath Museum, where they have been studying the head and finding that this remarkable terrestrial crocodile reveals almost as much as it conceals.
“Whereas modern-day amphibious crocodiles have low and flat heads, this new find gives us one of the first detailed insights into the head anatomy of this weird group of extinct crocs called Baurusuchia that feature tall, dog-like skulls with enlarged canines, and long-limbed body proportions,” said Larsson.
Full paper at PLOS One with photos, maps, diagrams.