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'Killer' Cretaceous Croc Devoured a Dinosaur as its Last Meal

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The remains of the ancient crocodile predator along with its well-preserved last meal (a young dinosaur) are found in the Great Australian Super Basin. The finding dated back to the Cretaceous period (about 145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago). This discovery marked the first evidence that dinosaurs were eaten by giant Cretaceous crocs,

The study is published 10 in the journal Gondwana Research on 10th Feb. The tail, hind limbs, and the pelvis area are missing in the fossil, however, the skull and most of the bones were found undamaged. The fossil is more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) long. Scientists thought the animal would likely have grown even more huge if it had lived.

Confractosuchus sauroktonos is the name of this crocodile relative. The term collectively means "broken crocodile dinosaur-killer," The croc's abdomen X-ray was taken via computed tomography (CT) devices. This technique generates digital 3D models of delicate bones. The victim ornithopod weighed around 4 pounds (1.7 kilograms).

About 95 million years ago, a primitive crocodile hunted a dinosaur right on the Australian lands. It seems that the gigantic reptile had gulped the dinosaur in a single swig. After consuming this hefty meal, the crocodilian died. The poor reptile died holding the half-consumed dinosaur in its stomach.

Matt White, a research associate at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, who is also the lead study author said,

"It is likely dinosaurs constituted an important resource in the Cretaceous ecological food web. Given the lack of comparable global specimens, this prehistoric crocodile and its last meal will continue to provide clues to the relationships and behaviors of animals that inhabited Australia millions of years ago."

The prey, infact, belonged to a bipedal herbivore group called ornithopod. This class includes duck-billed dinosaurs. The fossil presented the first bones of a young ornithopod found in Australia. These aboriginal Crocodilians coexisted with dinosaurs in the Triassic period (251.9 million to 201.3 million years ago). The tooth inserted on fossilized dinosaur bones shows that some dinosaurs were the favorite meal of crocodiles. The scavenger crocodiles hunted them for a banquet. . The existence of crocs with dinosaurs was first hinted at by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton, Queensland (2010) when smaller bones are found inside the croc's abdomen.