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Machimosaurus Rex: Massive Marine Crocodile's Remains Make it Largest Ever


A team of scientists detailed the remains of what is now the largest marine crocodile ever discovered, painting a terrifying picture of what the creature must have looked like.

Published in the journal Cretaceous Research, the new study detailed a species called Machimosaurus rex, which grew to be more than 30 feet long and six thousand pounds heavy. Machimosaurus also bore a resemblance to how the creature looks today, except its snout was much more narrow.

"This is a neat new discovery from a part of the world that hasn't been well-explored for fossils," Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh not involved in the study, told National Geographic. "It would likely have been something of an ambush predator, hanging around in shallow water hunting turtles and fishes and maybe waiting for some land animals to come a little too close to the shore."

Machimosaurus was believed to have died out during a mass extinction between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods some 150 million years ago. Discovered in the Sahara Desert, the remains suggest the Machimosaurus was alive after the supposed mass extinction event, suggesting the die off did not affect them, or was not so massive.

"The fact that Machimosaurus rex (pertaining to a group that was well alive in the Jurassic) lived 130-120 million years ago indicate that there was no mass extinction," study lead author Federico Fanti, a paleontologist at the University of Bologna, told "Everyone thought this group of crocodiles went extinct in the Jurassic but we found it well into the Cretaceous.

"We simply extended the temporal range of the animals. Twenty million years is a lot of time."

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