Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Armadillo-like Crocodile Fossil Found in Brazil

An ancient crocodile with armadillo-like body armor (above, a reconstruction of the fossil in an undated picture) roamed the arid interior of Brazil about 90 million years ago, say researchers who found the fossil in São Paolo state.

In addition to its unusual bony shield, the reptile could chew like a mammal, moving its lower jaw forward and backward, researchers said in July 2009.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Fossils found in Brazil are from a crocodile resembling a large armadillo that was a predator in the area around modern-day Sao Paulo state 90 million years ago, researchers said on Tuesday.

The 6.6-foot-long (two-meter-long), 265-lb (120-kg) crocodile, named the "Armadillosuchus," appears to have been unique to that area, the researchers at Rio de Janeiro's Federal University said.

The creature displayed some characteristics of an armadillo, with bony plates on its neck and back.

It had a carapace, a wide skull, a short, narrow snout, and relatively small, specialized teeth that make it distinct from any other crocodile discovered, the university said.

Full story at Yahoo! News

Also at National Geographic

Picture gallery here

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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