Thursday, 2 February 2012

ancient croc discovery

New species of ancient crocodile discovered
Finding based on skull found in Morocco and held by the Royal Ontario Museum
CBC News
Scientists have discovered a new species of a prehistoric crocodile based on a fossilized partial skull specimen that was found in Morocco and held by the Royal Ontario Museum for several years. The finding, published Tuesday in journal PLoS-ONE (Public Library of Science), provides important clues about the evolution of crocodiles and how to protect them from extinction."Aegisuchus witmeri or Shieldcroc is the earliest ancestor of our modern crocodiles to be found in Africa," said co-author Casey Holliday, a professor of anatomy at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. It is the newest discovery of crocodile species from the Late Cretaceous period, dating approximately 95 million years ago. This period is part of the Mesozoic Era, which has been referred to as the "Age of the Dinosaurs." However, numerous recent discoveries have led to some scientists calling the era the "Age of the Crocs," Holliday said.

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