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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
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Video: Ancient Crocodile Chewed Like a Mammal
4 August 2010 3:10 pm
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Credit: Patrick M. O'Connor, Ohio University
It might look like the skull of an ancient mammal, but these 100-million-year-old fossilized remains, found in Tanzania, belong to a member of the crocodile family. As this animation shows, the teeth of Pakasuchus resemble those of a warm-blooded carnivore, with protruding canines (pink), sharp premolars (yellow), and flat molars (blue). All allowed the critter to bite, rip, and chew its food. Modern croc teeth, in contrast, are uniformly cone-shaped for seizing and tearing prey. Based on the rest of its anatomy, which includes four long, straight limbs, scientists have concluded that the animal roamed across the African savanna, feeding on large insects such as dragonflies and possibly newly hatched dinosaurs. This means, the team will report tomorrow in Nature, that Pakasuchus probably filled an ecological niche in the southern hemisphere that mammal ancestors were exploiting in the north. As a result, Pakasuchus could—like other ancient crocs discovered recently in Africa--find ways to live comfortably out of water.
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