A 150 million-year-old fossil skeleton of a crocodile found in the mountains located in the southern part of Chile has finally been identified. Scientists have told that this skeleton is of the ancestors of modern crocodile. The Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences announced on Friday that further study on the fossil is still underway. The discovered fossil skeleton is of the Burkesuchus mallinggrandensis species of crocodile.
The study was being done since 2014
The fossil skeleton was discovered in 2014 by researchers from Argentina and Chile in an Andean fossil deposit near the Patagonian city of Malin Grande. It has since been analyzed at the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences (MACN), located in Buenos Aires. The museum said the specimen belonged to the grandfather of extant crocodiles.
Will help in understanding the evolution of crocodiles
This will help scientists understand how crocodiles evolved. Scientists believe that the fossils will help them understand how these reptiles went from terrestrial to aquatic. The discovery, along with other fossils, supports the old belief that South America was the cradle of the evolution of crocodiles. South America is the richest in terms of marine crocodile fossils.
Crocodiles did not live in water before
Federico Agnolin, who discovered this fossil, said that about 200 million years ago crocodiles were small, and did not live in water. Paleontologists have always wanted to know how they made themselves capable of living in water. What the fossils of the species Burkesuchus mallinggrandensis are telling us are a range of unique traits, Agnolin said.
These are the first crocodiles that started living in water
He said that we cannot find such a fossil in any other crocodile. Because, these were the first crocodiles that started landing in water or fresh water. It was only after this that other species of crocodiles left the land and made water their abode. According to MACN, crocodiles have been appearing since around the time of the first dinosaurs, at the beginning of the Jurassic period.
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