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Ancient Armadillo-Like Crocodile Discovered In Brazil

July 8, 2009

Researchers said on Tuesday that they found fossils in Brazil that are from a crocodile resembling a large armadillo that was a predator in the area around Sao Paulo state about 90 million years ago.

The researchers at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University said that the 6.6-foot-long, 265-lb crocodile has been named “Armadillosuchus” and it appears to be unique to that area.

One of the armadillo characteristics that the creature displays is having bony plates on its neck and back.

The university said that it had a carapace, a wide skull, a short and narrow snout, and relatively small teeth that make it distinct from any other crocodile discovered.

“The Armadillosuchus is only found in the interior of Sao Paulo state and this is a surprise, partly because it challenges the idea that crocodiles are found in hot and humid climates,” UFRJ paleontologist Ismar de Souza Carvalho told reporters.

“In this case, they are crocodiles that live in a climate that is quite hot, dry and arid,” he added.

The researchers said that the crocodile lived during the Cretaceous period in a time when temperatures could reach up to 113 degree Fahrenheit.

The researchers showed off their discovery at a news conference in Rio by displaying the creature’s head, ribs, and foot.  The fossils were first discovered in 2005.

Image Courtesy Jorge G. Macedo




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