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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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