Fossil Crocodile Surprise

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Fossil crocodile surprises scientists, according to articles in news@nature, BBC News and Science Express 10 Nov 2005. South American palaeontologists have found the skull and jaws of a fossil marine creature named Dakosaurus andiniensis that was believed to be a sea-dwelling crocodile. This creature was already known from a few fragments. It was about 4 metres (13 ft) long and had paddle shaped forelimbs. The skull and teeth are very different from all other known marine crocodiles. All other marine crocodiles have long narrow snouts with many small pointed teeth. Diego Pol of Ohio State University, who participated in the study of the new fossils commented: "Other vertebrate palaeontologists have been asking us whether this really is a crocodile."

The newly found fossils show that the creature had a short robust head, like a dinosaur and a small number of serrated teeth. These findings have led researchers to wonder what the creature ate. Living marine crocodiles catch whole fish by sweeping their jaws sideways and grabbing them with their teeth. This is an effective way of catching slippery fish and squid if a creature has a long narrow snout, but D andiniensis would be better suited to biting pieces out of larger prey, such as other marine reptiles, commented vertebrate palaeontologist Eric Buffetaut, but he added: "the only way to be sure is to find a fossil complete with stomach contents."

BBC

Editorial Comment: We are pleased to see an evolutionary palaeontologist admit something that Creation Research has been saying for many years – you cannot be sure what a creature ate from simply looking at its teeth. Teeth give you clues about how it ate, but to know what a creature ate scientists need to observe it eating, or in the case of extinct animals find preserved stomach contents or dung.

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