Jura period prehistoric crocodile from the Jura coast

The fossil gem of England’s south coast is the stretch of coast known to science only as the Jura Coast, where legendary paleontologist Mary Anning’s birthplace, Lyme Regis, lies. This reputation is no coincidence: the coast’s rock formations provide inquisitive researchers with an incredible wealth of fossils. The coast of what is now Dorset was home to prehistoric crocodiles 185 million years ago, according to new research by Taylor and Francis reported the publishing company.

the Turnersuchus hengleyae An animal’s head, backbone and limbs are called Parts foundThis discovery provided the most complete prehistoric crocodile of its time. A marine crocodile belonging to the marine order Thalattosuchia was found in a gap, and at the same time it proves that the most ancient ancestors of crocodilians could have formed sometime at the end of the Triassic period, 15 million years before this discovery.

The researchers expect that more prehistoric crocodiles representing this period will be found, and they may also come across earlier crocodiles. “In fact, while we were publishing our study, another research result was published, in which a prehistoric crocodile found in the ceiling of a Moroccan cave was described from the Hettangian / Sinemurian period (that is, from the era before the Turnersuchus period, Pliensbachian), and this supports our idea. And I expect Older specimens of Trillothochia and their relatives will be found,” explained Dr Eric Wahlberg, lead researcher. He added that according to their analyses, these animals could have evolved at the end of the Triassic period and survived extinction at the end of the Triassic period.

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Bone remains have been found in several massifs.

Source: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

However, no fossils of Talatosuchia from the Triassic period have been found, which indicates to researchers that there is a branch of this family tree that we don’t know about yet. This missing branch has been shortened by a few million years through discovery. With its long snout, the animal may have looked a little like a living gharial, and it probably had massive and powerful jaw muscles based on the shape of its skull, which enabled it to quickly grab its prey. There is also the idea that this morphological feature indicates that they may have been able to regulate the temperature of their brains to some extent.

The group Thalattosuchia is only referred to as marine crocodilians, although they are not crocodiles strictly speaking, only distant relatives. However, they were truly marine, their body structure was also adapted to this, their short limbs turned into flippers, their caudal fin was similar to sharks, and they also had a salt gland (this organ is found in many marine animals, the body can get rid of salt plus with his help), and it is very likely that they were two surviving parents. The discovery that has just been discovered shows all of these properties in a form that has not yet been fully developed.

Fossils of the ancient crocodile were presented to the Paleontological Museum in Lyme Regis by the discoverers, whose names – Paul Turner and Lizzie Hingley – are preserved in the ancient animal’s scientific name.

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