Odkrycie nowego przodka krokodyli

This crocodile ancestor was like a tank. This is a very unique specimen

Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin have just discovered a crocodile ancestor from the era of dinosaurs. The specimen is extremely unique because as much as 70% of its carapace was examined. Typically, such material is quite limited. This time, however, we managed to find a really large piece of armor from the back of the neck and shoulders to the tip of the tail!

Armored aetosaurs they were like tanks of the Triassic era. Thanks to the latest research, another species of aetosaur has just been identified – report “The Anatomical Record” and the University of Texas at Austin.

Armor – mosaic

The species Garzapelta muelleri, as this is the name of the new discovery, it lived about 215 million years ago and resembled a cross between a crocodile and an oversized armadillo. It belonged to a group of animals called aetosaurs. They occurred, among others, in the Triassic, just before the great dominance of dinosaurs. Their fossils are found on all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

The name “Garza” refers to Garza County in northwest Texas, where the specimen was found, and “Pelta” is Greek for “shield,” referring to the animal's solid armor. The species name “muelleri” refers to the name of the paleontologist, Bill Mueller, who discovered the fossil.

by Márcio L. Castro.
by Márcio L. Castro.

The bony plates covering aetosaurs are called osteoderms. They were embedded directly in the skin, creating armor and fitting together like a mosaic – reports the Nauka w Polsce portal. In addition to its body covered in bony plates, Garzapelta's sides were surrounded by curved spines that provided another layer of protection against predator attacks. Although today's crocodiles are carnivores, scientists believe that aetosaurs were primarily omnivores.

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