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dyrosaurus phosphaticus
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The Taichung City-based National Museum of Natural Science unveiled yesterday its collection of fossils of ancient crocodiles and announced that the museum is preparing a special exhibition for the valuable artefacts.
At a press conference held to publicize the collection, museum Curator Lin Chung-hsien said the museum's core operations are collection and research, through which people can find out more about nature.
Among the fossils, the oldest is a prehistoric crocodile called steneosaurus bollensis, discovered in a small village in Stuttgart, Germany. It lived in the early Jurassic Period some 180 million years ago, according to Cheng Yien-nien, a paleontologist from the museum's Geology Department.
In his briefing, Cheng also introduced the museum's most valuable crocodile fossil -- an 5.6 meter reptile called dyrosaurus phosphaticus that was found in Morocco and is said to be around 50 million years old.
It might be the world's first specimen of the species to be completely unearthed, Cheng said.
In addition, he announced that the museum is managing a specimen of a crocodilian species discovered in Penghu, off southwestern Taiwan, in 2006, which he estimated to be 14 million years old.
It is the oldest crocodilian fossil unearthed in Taiwan and is probably a new species of prehistoric crocodile, Cheng said, noting that the fossil has preserved skin and even food in its stomach.

Source China Post

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Godzilla
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In the Jurassic era when dinosaurs ruled the earth, a 13-foot monster crocodile nicknamed "Godzilla" might be the king of sea..

Totally unique among marine crocodiles, "it is one of the most evolved members of the crocodilian family and also one of the most bizarre" - Diego Pol, a paleontologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, who served on the research team.
Alerted by a group of farmers who stumbled across several fragments, a team of paleontologists led by Zulma Gasparini of Argentina's La Plata University collected a skull and parts of a vertebrae of the animal in the Argentine province of Neuquen in 1996.
The unusual fossils presented a puzzle until Dr Pol used sophisticated computer software to map the features of the bones and determine the creature's lineage.

Until now, every known marine crocodilian had a head of one basic type, with a long snout and many sharp, identical teeth. But "Godzilla" had a short, high snout and teeth that were large and serrated, like a terrestrial reptile's.
Large serrated teeth of "Godzilla", given the scientific name Dakosaurus andiniensis, indicate a carnivore that would have hunted large prey.


A "sea monster" nicknamed Godzilla warns pterosaurs that this meal already is taken. This computer illustration of the fierce croc appears in the December 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine. Researchers discovered the skull of the animal, known by the scientific name Dakosaurus andiniensis, in Argentina.

"This was a top predator that probably was 13 feet long and swam around using its jagged teeth to bite and cut its prey, like dinosaurs and other predatory reptiles did" - Diego Pol.

The researchers don't yet know what events triggered the relatively sudden emergence of Dakosaurus, nor do they know what caused it to go extinct.

"These groups all went extinct about the same time as the dinosaurs and the whales appeared shortly afterward and seemed to have replaced them ecologically" - J. M. Clark, who was not involved with the research.

The finding, published in Thursday's online issue of the journal Science, sheds new light on an animal that millions of years ago dominated Earth's seas.
Its discovery will be highlighted in the December issue of National Geographic magazine.

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