Crocodiles are called living fossils, looking much the same as they did millions of years ago. The first crocodile fossils were from the Triassic period about two hundred forty million years ago. They came before dinosaurs but from the same group. This group included crocodiles, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. Fossils worldwide help us know what some ancient crocodiles looked like and their behavior.
Structure Of A Crocodile
Crocodiles have powerful jaws with sharp conical teeth and tiny legs with clawed webbed toes. They have a rare body structure that allows the eyes and nostrils to be above the water's surface while most animals are hidden below. The tail is long and massive, and the skin is thick and plated.
Specification Of Crocodile Teeth
Crocodiles are a living connection with the dinosaur fossil-like reptiles of prehistoric times and are the nearest living relatives of birds. Fossilized crocodile teeth and inferred crocodile biting damage to a fossil equid tibia. The structure and composition of the teeth of the saltwater crocodile Crocodylus porosus were characterized by several high-resolution analytical techniques.
Combined with elemental analysis and infrared spectroscopy, the teeth' mineral phase is a carbonated calcium-deficient in all three tooth-constituting tissues: Dentin, enamel, and cementum. The fluoride content in the three tissues is shallow (<0.1 wt%) and comparable to human teeth. The mineral content of dentin, enamel, and cementum, as determined by thermogravimetry, is 71.3, 80.5, and 66.8 wt%, respectively.
Know About Types Of Ancient Crocodiles
- Aegisuchus: They were found 100.5-93.9 million years ago, with large flat heads. Their fossils were found in Morocco.
- Allodaposuchus: They were found 86.3-66 million years ago, similar to modern-day crocodiles, 9 feet long, and their fossils were found in France, Romania, and Spain.
- Amphicotylus milesi: They were found 150 million years ago, semi-aquatic, similar to modern-day crocodiles. Their fossils were found in the Morrison Formation in Wyoming.
- Anatosuchus: They were found 113-110.5 million years ago. They were around 2 feet long and had a bill-like snout and extended nose. These crocodile fossils were found in Niger.
- Angistorhinus: They were found 237-208.5 million years ago, with long skinny snouts and enormous crocs about 26 feet long. Their fossils were found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming.
- Armadillosuchus: They were found 94-84 million years ago. They had thick bony plates on their broad back, 6 feet long, and fossils were found in the Bauru Basin of Brazil.
- Baurusuchus: They were found 93.9-89.8 million years ago. A genus of land crocodiles, eyes and nostrils on the side of the skull. They were 11-13 feet long, fossils found in Brazil.
- Brachychampsa: They were found 93.5-63.3 million years ago. Moreover, known as one of the earliest alligator kids. They were 8-10 feet long, and fossils were found in Montana's Hell Creek Formation, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- Carnufex: They were found 237-228 million years ago. An interesting fact about them is that they walked upright on two legs, were 9 feet long, and were considered significant predators before the dinosaurs, fossils found in North Carolina.
- Dakosaurus: They were found 163.5-139.8 million years ago, marine crocs with a tall deep skull. According to the scientist, they were 13-16 feet long, nicknamed the "Biter Lizard," fossils found in North America, South America, Europe, and Russia.
- Euthecodon: They were found 23-2.58 million years ago. They were large crocodiles with very long snouts. They were 10 meters long, had a thick-bodied tails, and only had four teeth. These crocodile fossils were found in Egypt and Ethiopia.
- Gracilisuchus: They were found 242-237 million years ago. They were tiny crocodiles that walked on their hind legs, only 2 feet long, including the tail. Their fossils were found in Argentina.
- Mourasuchus: They were found 23-5.3 million years ago, one of the giant crocodiles ever. They grew up to 39 feet long, with a duck-like bill and pelican-like pouch. Their fossils were found in South America.
- Purussaurus: They were found 23 million to 5.3 million years ago. They are giant crocodiles, up to 41 feet long, and weigh 18,000 lbs. They were known as Apex predators of the Miocene epoch. Moreover, according to paleontologists, they had the most vital bite force of any animal in the world. Their fossils were found in South America.
- Pakasuchus: They were found 125-100.5 million years ago. The crocodile is trying to be a mammal. Moreover, interestingly they had teeth similar to mammals and had a dog-like nose at the end of their snout and long legs. Their fossils are found in South Africa and Tanzania.
Quick Facts About Crocodile Fossils
- They Are the Largest Reptiles on Earth
- Crocodiles Do Produce Tears
- They Can't Chew Food.
- They Swallow Stones to Improve Digestion.
- They Have Special Hearts.
Evolution and Classification
Like all reptiles, crocodiles are diapsids and have two openings on each side of the skull. Crocodile fossils also show the group's most essential characteristics, including the dinosaurs. Their skull exhibits distinctly developed upper and lower temporal fenestrae. Their teeth arise from sockets, and the roof of the skull lacks an opening for the parietal organ. In contrast, other crocodiles are a separate order since they have developed a secondary bony palate, which encloses the nasal passage from the exterior nasal openings to the internal nostrils.
These features occur even in the primitive group of the crocodilian group, namely the Protosuchia of the Late Triassic Epoch (228.7 million–199.6 million years ago). Still, their muzzles were very short, and the choanae were relatively far forward on the palate.
More About Crocodiles Behavior
Crocodiles are primarily nocturnal animals. They are predators and spend a maximum of their time in the water, although they are also known to make journeys of several kilometers over land. Crocodiles capture water animals in their jaws with a sideways movement of the muzzle. They have sensitive pressure receptors located in pits in the scales around the mouth that detect motion.
However, to catch land animals, a crocodile floats passively or remains motionless at the water's edge, where prey habitually drink. With a sudden lunge, it seizes an unsuspecting animal and drowns it. If the prey is large, a crocodile may grip portions of the victim in its jaws and rotate rapidly in the water to tear the prey apart.
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