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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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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