Artist’s concept of two rauisuchians over desiccated corpse that mammal-relative in the Triassic of southern Africa. In the background, dinosaurs and also mammal-like reptiles kind other components of the ecosystem. Picture via Viktor Radermachar.

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Scientists have figured out fossil stays from museum collections as belonging come giant, crocodile-like animals that preyed on at an early stage dinosaurs and mammal relatives 210 million years ago. These predators, recognized as rauisuchians, stayed in southern Africa during the Triassic period, i m sorry spans 252 come 201 million year ago.

Rauisuchians are very closely related come today’s crocodiles. Lock had huge jaws, go on all fours, and were covered in crocodile-like armored scales. They had actually a diversity of body shapes and also sizes, but the specimens explained in this research incorporate some the the biggest carnivorous members the the group, possibly up to 33 feet (10 meters) long – about the size of a institution bus, with vast skulls full of serrated, curved teeth.

According to the study, published online in the Journal the African planet Sciences on respectable 27, 2019, the rauisuchians were few of the latest-surviving members of their group, and that when they were alive, lock were flourishing close come the Antarctic one – the theoretical border for their physiology.

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Rauisuchia is an stimulate of reptiles that lived throughout the Triassic period. This team is a sister come the group that gave rise to the modern crocodiles, alligators, and also caimans. Rauisuchia has the biggest non-dinosaurian soil carnivore ever and some were so large that they might go head to head through T. Rex. Photo via Dinopedia

The researchers studied fossilized teeth, pieces of jaws, hind limbs and body armor uncovered in southern Africa’s Elliot Formation, a geological formation of reddish-colored rocks famed for the dinosaur fossils. The fossils to be from collections based at the university of the Witwatersrand, the Iziko south African Museum and also the nationwide Museum in Bloemfontein, south Africa.

Location that the Eliot development in southern Africa.

Rick Tolchard, of university of the Witwatersrand, is the study lead author. He said in a statement:

In the Triassic period, rauisuchians were widespread and also their fossils are well-known from every continents other than Antarctica. They go extinct about 200 million year ago, paving the means for dinosaurs to become the dominant large land animals.

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An example of rauisuchian teeth. Picture via everyday Maverick.

Tolchard claimed rauisuchians preyed on at an early stage herbivore dinosaurs and their mammal relatives living at the time. The said:

These old fossils provide us with evidence of just how at the very least two predator varieties hunted these vegetarian dinosaurs 210 million year ago. That is impressive to follow the hints left behind in fossilized teeth, jaws, limbs and other fossils to help us call the ancient story that life in southerly Africa.

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Bottom line: Fossil remains uncovered in southern Africa have been figured out as belonging to an extinct relative of crocodiles.

Source: ‘Rauisuchian’ material from the lower Elliot development of southern Africa and Lesotho: implications for late Triassic biogeography and biostratigraphy