Scientists have recently unearthed the fossil remains of a previously undiscovered predator believed to have brought fear during the Jurassic period. Belonging to a crocodile-like species, the animal was named the Razanandrongobe sakalavae and is nicknamed “Razana”.
This is not the only discovery of fossils belonging to this species, but it is the first to confirm its status and existence. Over a decade ago, the same research team found traces of the Razanandrongobe sakalavae. However, a lack of other fossil remains made it difficult to establish whether this was a new species or where it fit on the evolutionary scale. Now, the latest discoveries helped solve both questions.
Undiscovered Jurassic Predator, Even More Fearsome than the T-rex?
The newly surfaced fossil is a skull part, which proves that this beast is not a dinosaur. Instead, it helped confirm that it most likely is one if not the oldest and largest notosuchians. This is an ancient sub-order of the ancestors of modern crocodiles, crocodylomorphs.
The previously undiscovered Jurassic predator would have been hard to miss as it probably had a length of around 23 feet. It is also believed to have weighed some 1,760 to 2,200 lbs.
Their weight and height would place it in a category similar to adult saltwater crocodiles, known to us today.
One of the elements that helped Razana gain its predator status was the resurfaced jaw. Enormous in size, it has teeth some 6 inches long from root to teeth. These are also serrated, and quite similar to those of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Its attributes suggest that it wasn’t used merely for feeding on plants. Instead, it would have been useful in breaking bones and chomping through flesh.
“Like these and other gigantic crocs from the Cretaceous, ‘Razana’ could outcompete even theropod dinosaurs, at the top of the food chain”, stated Cristiano Dal Sasso.
Part of the Natural History Museum of Milano, he is also the study’s lead author. Study results are available in the PeerJ.
The team theorized that this animal could have preyed on pterosaurs, small mammals, possibly even some sauropods.
Still, only a more complete collection of its skeletal remains will help reveal more of its features and habits.
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