Thursday, March 31, 2011

[Geology2] New Dinosaur, Crocodile Cousin Found in Brazil

Pictures: New Dinosaur, Crocodile Cousin Found in Brazil

Picture of a skull of a new crocodile cousin found in Brazil

"Incredible" Croc Skull

Photograph by Marcos de Paula, Agencia Estado/AP

The nearly complete skull of a new species of ancient crocodile cousin has been found in Brazil, paleontologists say.

The animal is what's called a crocodyliform, part of a group known as the crocodilians that includes modern-day alligators, caimans, and more. (See alligator and crocodile pictures.)

Dubbed Pepesuchus deiseae, the new species lived between 99 million to 65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period. Brazilian National Museum paleontologists recently found a skull and jawbone of the crocodile cousin at a fossil site in São Paulo state.

Seen above during a March 16 presentation, the fossil skull is "in incredibly good condition," said team leader Alexander Kellner. "We had enough basis to build a fairly good replica, showing what it probably looked like in real life."

(Related pictures: "5 'Oddball' Crocs Discovered, Including Dinosaur-Eater.")

The new crocodile cousin and another newfound species—a meat-eating dinosaur that's the biggest of its kind yet found in Brazil—were described recently in the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. The fossils are now housed at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro's National Museum.

—Sabrina Valle in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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