A 150 million-year-old fossil discovered in Bavaria, Germany in 2014 has finally been identified. The fossil belongs to a species of ancient crocodile that adapted to life in the sea by developing paddle-like limbs and a tail fin. The identification was carried out by an international team of scientists, and the new information provides important insights into the evolution of ancient animals.
Studying Ancient Animal Species
Because the fossil was so well preserved, the research team from Germany and the University of Edinburg were able to derive a lot of information from it. By comparing it with other species, they discovered that it was, in fact, a new species not seen before. Key features that helped to distinguish these remains included the tail, the roof of the mouth, and the jaws. Digital images of the fossil were also created as part of the research.
The ancient marine crocodile species has been identified as Cricosaurus bambergensis, with the name coming from the German town of Bamberg where the fossil was found and is now stored. It was a member of a larger group of animals with fins and limbs that allowed them to live in the sea and were similar to dolphins. This marine animal is also an ancestor of the modern-day crocodile.
The ancient crocodile lived during the Jurassic era and made its habitat in shallow seas in Germany. It fed on small fish and squid. Other related species were found in what is now Mexico and Argentina.
Looking ahead, it is expected that the identification of this new ancient species from the metriorhynchid family is going to expand the understanding of these creatures. The high-resolution images taken are going to be important for further studies. The findings may also help shed light on the age of dinosaurs according to Dr. Mark Young from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who was part of the international team of researchers.
Engaging Sentence: The identification of an ancient fossil reveals an ancestor of the modern-day crocodile.