Home » Evolution, News » Fossil finds: Shieldcroc! Mother of all crocodiles?

Fossil finds: Shieldcroc! Mother of all crocodiles?

"Professor, do you think we should flee?" "Yes, Doctor, I believe we should."/"University of Missouri-Columbia

Around here, it’s Friday night. That used to mean sci-fi nite. Think back (if you can … and life sucks if you can’t) to the mid-1960s, when kids’ exhausted parents went to bed early and the kids settled down to make popcorn and watch B sci fi’s on TV. Like, oh, “Zoids from Planet Zongo!!” Hardly great art.

On the other hand, them was the days when everything was either cheap or free, so quality didn’t matter much. And our parents, if they happened to roll over, knew where we were: We were all in the living room, watching ‘Zoids!! We went to bed with the TV signoff test pattern.

In memory of those times, we bring you, Shieldcroc! (except this really happened, once):

From “New Species of Ancient Crocodile Discovered; ‘Sheildcroc’ Was Ancestor of Today’s Species” (ScienceDaily, Jan. 31, 2012), we learn,

Shieldcroc is the newest discovery of crocodile species dating to the Late Cretaceous period, 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.

Holliday analyzed Shieldcroc’s skull and brain to estimate the overall size of the reptile. He said scientists often use head size of an animal to estimate its total length. Using several parameters, Holliday and Gardner estimate that this specimen had a 5-foot long head and was 30 feet long.

Wow.

The Shieldcroc fossil studied by Holliday and Gardner is being returned to the Royal Ontario Museum, where it will be put on display later this year.

Animatronics next?

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5 Responses to Fossil finds: Shieldcroc! Mother of all crocodiles?

  1. This one is a bit older and bigger:

    “SuperCroc” Fossil Found in Sahara – 2001
    Excerpt: Scientists have unearthed the remains of an ancient crocodile that was as long as a city bus and as heavy as a small whale.
    The giant creature, which lived 110 million years ago, during the Middle Cretaceous, grew as long as 40 feet (12 meters) and weighed as much as eight metric tons (17,500 pounds).
    Its jaws alone were nearly six feet (1.8 meters) long and its more than 100 teeth so powerful that the colossal creature probably consumed small dinosaurs as well as fish, the researchers say.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....rcroc.html

  2. Banned from viewing on parent TV! Suitable only for kid TV!

  3. News, as I’m sure you are well aware, there are many, many instances of giants in the fossil record, for instance this one:

    Ancient sea monsters not to be messed with
    Bizarre shrimp-like predators grew larger and survived longer than thought – May 2011
    Excerpt: Past research showed they dominated the seas during the early and middle Cambrian period 542 million to 501 million years ago, a span of time known for the “Cambrian Explosion” that saw the appearance of all the major animal groups and the establishment of complex ecosystems.,,, Now, extraordinarily well-preserved fossils unearthed in the rocky desert in southeastern Morocco by local collector Mohammed Ben Moula reveal giant anomalocaridids that measured more than 3 feet in length (following the Cambrian period).,,, “There have been suggestions of Cambrian anomalocaridids of over 6 feet in length, but these estimates are extrapolations from very fragmentary material, and hence not too reliable.” Moreover, these newly examined creatures date back to the period that followed the Cambrian, the early Ordovician, 488 million to 472 million years ago, meaning these predators lived for 30 million years longer than previously known. “Now we know that they died out much more recently than we thought,” Briggs said.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43.....e-science/

    or this one:

    Giant Sea Scorpion Discovered; Was Bigger Than a Man
    Excerpt: The size of a large crocodile, the 390-million-year-old sea scorpion
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....rpion.html

    ,,, Needless to say, Jurassic Park barely begins to put a dent in how ferocious, and big, life was back then

  4. OT: Surface of Mars an unlikely place for life after 600-million-year drought, say scientists – February 2012
    Excerpt: The results of the soil analysis at the Phoenix site suggest the surface of Mars has been arid for hundreds of millions of years, despite the presence of ice and the fact that previous research has shown that Mars may have had a warmer and wetter period in its earlier history more than three billion years ago. The team also estimated that the soil on Mars had been exposed to liquid water for at most 5,000 years since its formation billions of years ago. They also found that Martian and Moon soil is being formed under the same extremely dry conditions.
    Satellite images and previous studies have proven that the soil on Mars is uniform across the planet, which suggests that the results from the team’s analysis could be applied to all of Mars. This implies that liquid water has been on the surface of Mars for far too short a time for life to maintain a foothold on the surface.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092006.htm

  5. Or the SyFy channel.

    They’ve done several cheaply made, awesomely bad, funny films with characters such as DinoCroc and Gatoroid.

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