Thursday, August 05, 2010

Croc Update (Chewing Edition)

Ancient Crocodile Could Have Chewed Like You Do | Wired Science | "Chewing has always been thought of as a strictly mammalian ability. But during the reign of the dinosaurs a hundred million years ago, in the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, some crocodiles were likely doing something very close to that.

An ancient crocodile species has been discovered with molar teeth that fit together much like those of small carnivorous mammals. With lanky limbs, a lack of stiff armor on its back, and a nose ill-equipped for the water, it likely acted much more like a terrestrial cat than a fierce water predator.

“All of the things we’re finding really paint a picture of an animal that was active, agile, living up on land, moving around,” said anatomist Patrick O’Conner of Ohio University, lead author of the discovery August 4 in Nature. “When we look at the teeth compared to animals alive today, some of the closest comparisons are mammalian carnivores specialized for processing meat.”"

Nice drawing at the link.

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