Paleontologists have put together the remains of a new species of prehistoric reptile that lived long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The reptile resembled a giant crocodile that was approximately 9 feet long from head to tail, had razor-sharp huge teeth and was carnivorous.
The ancient creature had bony plates on the back, just like a modern-day crocodile, but unlike the crocodile, its legs were underneath its body.
The new species of prehistoric reptile was discovered by Sterling Nesbitt, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Virginia Tech. Nesbitt explained that the reptile is not a dinosaur but a predecessor of dinosaurs and lived on our planet before the giant creatures did.
Nesbitt stated that the full name of the new species of prehistoric reptile is Nundasuchus songeaensi, which is a combination of two languages: Greek mixed with Swahili.
Talking about the name’s meaning, Nesbit explained that Nundasuchus means “predator crocodile” and songeaensis comes from the town where the animal’s bones were found.
The prehistoric crocodile’s remains were unearthed in a little town in the southwestern parts of Tanzania, while the team of paleontologists was digging to find birds and other crocodile species.
According to Nesbitt, the ancient predator was heavy-built, had limbs under the body just like dinosaurs or birds did, but also had bony plates on the back like a crocodilian reptile.
Nesbitt and his team of researchers discovered the bones back in 2007, while Nesbitt was still a graduate student. Since then, Nesbitt and his colleagues have been trying to piece together the thousands of bone remains. They still haven’t found most of the skull bones, despite searching the site three times. Nesbitt reported that he and his team have spent more than 1,000 hours to find the bones and put them back together.
Nesbitt declared that he instantly knew he had come upon a new species when he started to put the bones in order.
The researcher has been involved in the naming of 17 species of reptiles and other dinosaurs in the past 10 years.
The study on the new species of prehistoric reptile was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
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