Newly Discovered: Animal Fossils

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#1
Published online: 10 November 2005;
| doi:10.1038/news051107-11

Short-snouted snapper surprises fossil hunters
This unusual looking crocodile would have had a hard time catching fish.
Tom Simonite


Crocodiles are easily recognized by their long, toothsome snouts. But fossil hunters in Patagonia have found one that has a short, blunt nose and relatively few teeth. Experts say that its odd shape probably means it had a different diet to the fishy one favoured by other crocs, past and present.

A surprisingly short skull and two stumpy lower jaws were uncovered in Patagonia by Zulma Gasparini, a palaeontologist at Argentina's Museo de La Plata, and her colleagues. Features of the skull revealed that the new fossils were of Dakosaurus andiniensis, a marine crocodile known from only a few fragments found in Argentina. They show that D. andiniensis, which menaced the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean some 160 million years ago, had a bullet-shaped head that has surprised experts.

"Other vertebrate palaeontologists have been asking us whether this really is a crocodile," says Diego Pol, at Ohio State University, one of the two co-authors of the paper published online by Science1.

Other vertebrate paleontologists have been asking us 'is this really a crocodile?'

Diego Pol
Ohio State UniversityDiego Pol




Catch me if you can

Although some extinct terrestrial crocodiles were known to have short heads, until now all known marine crocodiles had long snouts. The skull also has a small number of large, serrated teeth, rather than the usual quota of many small, pointed ones.

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Palaeontologists think that, like modern crocodiles, extinct marine forms swept their long, shallow jaws sideways to grab their slippery prey of fish or squid. D. andiniensis's stumpy head was probably not hydrodynamic enough to pull this off successfully.

"The big question is: what did they eat?," says Eric Buffetaut, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. He says D. andiniensis's large serrated teeth are better suited to cutting chunks off bigger prey than to grabbing whole fish. "It suggests they may have fed on other marine reptiles or large fish," he says, "but the only way to be sure is to find a fossil complete with stomach contents."

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051107/ ... 07-11.html

References
Gasparini Z., et al. Science online ahead of print, doi: 10.1126/science.1120803 (2005).
Edir to amend title.
 
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#2
Man-sized scorpion lived in Scotland



A scientist poring over 330-million-year-old tracks in a layer of sandstone in Scotland believes they were made by an extraordinary water scorpion that was as big as a man.

Above: A regular scorpion...

The huge six-legged creature was about 1.6 metres (64 inches) long and a metre (40 inches) wide, according to the study, published on Thursday in Nature, the weekly British science journal.

The trackway, measuring six metres (20 feet) long, was found on the overhang of a bed of sandstone that, 330 million years ago, was probably close to the sea and had the consistency of soft plaster.

The traces comprise crescent-shaped prints left by the creature's limbs and a sinuous curve believed to have been gouged out by its tail.

"The slow stilted progression, together with the dragging of the posterior, indicates that the animal was not buoyant and that it was probably moving out of the water," says Martin Whyte, a geography professor at Britain's University of Sheffield.

The find is unique, not just because of the gigantic size of the arthropod, but for the evidence it offers that this invertebrate species could survive out of water.

Until now, the only advanced creatures believed to have ventured onto land from the sea at that era were early tetrapods -- vertebrates with four limbs.


http://www.physorg.com/news8601.html
Edit to amend subject title.
 
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Five-Foot Giant Water Scorpion Once Roamed U.K. Shores

November 30, 2005
If you think scorpions are scary, try this on for size: a six-legged water scorpion the size of a human. Newly discovered tracks reveal that about 330 million years ago, just such a creature lumbered along the riverbanks in present-day Scotland.

The fossilized track is the largest of its kind ever found and shows these now extinct creatures could walk on land, according to Martin Whyte, a geologist at the University of Sheffield in England.


"There's been lot of debate about this particular [species of] water scorpion—whether it could only live in water or if it could come out. … What the track shows is they could come out at least for short intervals," he said.

The geologist describes the find in tomorrow's issue of the science journal Nature.

Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, agreed that the tracks looks like they were made on solid ground.

"That tell us that about this time our ancestors, the first vertebrates with four limbs instead of fins, were confronting very large arthropods on land," he said. "That's the neat thing it brings up."

Slow Crawl

The footprints were made by a species of Hibbertopterus, a family of water scorpions that are among the largest arthropods—a group that includes insects and crustaceans—ever known.

Whyte estimates the individual who made the track was 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) long and 3.2 feet (1 meter) wide.

The track itself is 20 feet (6 meters) long and about 3 feet (1 meter) wide.

"It's huge, absolutely giant," Hedges said. "To consider an arthropod made the thing, that's really impressive. A lot of people don't realize the arthropods of that time period, including dragonflies, millipedes, and centipedes, were much larger than today."

Whyte's analysis of the tracks suggests that the ancient water scorpion took its sweet time as it lumbered along the shoreline.

He said the creature walked in-phase, with each pair of limbs moving forward at the same time rather than alternating, like a human gait. Also, the scorpion's stride averaged 10.6 inches (27 centimeters) long, short enough that they overlapped.

The track also features a central groove left by the water scorpion's dragging tail, leaving indications of jerky movements.


"The whole thing adds up to fairly look as though the body [was] heavy and the animal was moving quite slowly," Whyte said. "For that reason I think it was out of the water. Had it been in [the water], water would've buoyed up the tail."

Simon Braddy, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol in England, specializes in ancient water scorpion tracks. He said the evidence is "unclear" that these newly discovered tracks were made on land.

"Sometimes you find mud cracks on a surface that are a sure sign, but these are lacking in this case," he said in an e-mail interview.

Hedges, the Pennsylvania State University biologist, disagrees, saying the analysis "makes sense."

"I don't know for absolute certain, but it made a track, so it was walking on a mucky surface. Maybe it was right at the water's edge, which is where the first tetrapods would have occurred as well," he said.

Tetrapods are four-limbed creatures with backbones, a group that includes humans. The earliest ones looked like giant salamanders, measuring about four feet (1.2 meters) long, Hedges said.

Landward Ho

According to Hedges, by about 360 million years ago the transition of lobe-finned fish—prehistoric fish with fleshy fins—to four-limbed tetrapods was nearly complete.

The newly discovered trackway, which is dated to 330 million years ago, therefore suggests that some of the earliest tetrapods would have confronted these giant water scorpions as they scurried about the shore.

"All kinds of things are brought out by discoveries like these," Hedges said. "For example, what kind of interactions would have occurred between these giant water scorpions and the early tetrapods?"

According to Whyte, even though water scorpions shared the same environment with tetrapods, the six-legged giants likely left our ancestors alone.

"They didn't have large pincers or aggressive weaponry that would have made them a danger to the early tetrapods," he said. "If anything the tetrapods were more a danger to them than the reverse."

Scorpion
 
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#4
Anyone got stories of relict scorpions in Highland Lochs? Did they come out at night and eat the sheep and crofters?
 

GNC

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The Big Grey Scorpion of Ben MacDui?
 

Human_84

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How is it possible that this animal was the ONLY thing to tread on that sand and no waves, no animals, no nothing fell ontop of it. The chances of perfect tracks being created and preserved for millions of years with no interfearence is soooooo so so slim.
 

eburacum

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Quite; this sort of fossil is unusual, but does occur occasionally. Dinosaur footprints are more common, but still rare. The tracks might have been made in a muddy pool or puddle, as the mud shows no sign of polygonal cracking, but the creature was not supported by bouyancy (so the water was not deep enough for it to float).

Giant scorpions of this kind (eurypterids) are fascinating creatures; some people say that certain species might even have had stings. Their gait seems to be primitive, moving two legs at a time, very different to the spohisticated movement of arachnids today. Probably predators, preying perhaps on the small lizard-like amphibians of the time.
 

feen5

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#10
How is it possible that this animal was the ONLY thing to tread on that sand and no waves, no animals, no nothing fell ontop of it. The chances of perfect tracks being created and preserved for millions of years with no interfearence is soooooo so so slim.
Rare yes but slim no. In relation to the first part of your post it probably wasn't the only animal to tread on this patch of sand but it probably was the only animal of this size to do so. This water scorpion was the size of a human, its only natural that it would leave tracks.
As for the second part of your post delicate tracks or marks such as these are laid down all the time. Many types of sedimantary rocks have ripple marks in them from the time the rock was first laid down. These ripple marks are exactly the same as the small ripples of sand seen on a beach during tides. They don't look very sturdy then but there marks turn up all the time.
As for these particular tracks, there may not have been time for them to be destroyed by other animals, the scorpion itself lived in an aqeous environment so its entirely possible that the tracks were filled in relatively quickly after they were laid down, this way they were perserved almost immediatly. There are examples of track of all types of prehistoric creatures all over the world, including dinosaur tracks, human footprints, and even millipede tracks in Scotland, (not sure exactly where but i seen them in the fantastic Earth Story seris of programmes regularly shown on the satellite channels.
 

Timble2

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#11
Perhaps the Loch Ness moster isn't a vertebrate at all...

Fascinating story.
 
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#12
Origin Of Claws Seen In Fossil 390 Million Years Old
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 142145.htm

Photograph of Schinderhannes bartelsi. (Credit: Steinmann Institute/University of Bonn)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2009) — A missing link in the evolution of the front claw of living scorpions and horseshoe crabs was identified with the discovery of a 390 million-year-old fossil by researchers at Yale and the University of Bonn, Germany.

The specimen, named Schinderhannes bartelsi, was found fossilized in slate from a quarry near Bundenbach in Germany, a site that yields spectacularly durable pyrite-preserved fossils — findings collectively known as the Hunsrück Slate. The Hunsrück Slate has previously produced some of the most valuable clues to understanding the evolution of arthropods – including early shrimp-like forms, a scorpion and sea spiders as well as the ancient arthropods trilobites.

"With a head like the giant Cambrian aquatic predator Anomalocaris and a body like a modern arthropod, the specimen is the only known example of this unusual creature," said Derek Briggs, director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History and an author of the paper appearing in the journal Science.

Scientists have puzzled over the origins of the paired grasping appendages found on the heads of scorpions and horseshoe crabs. The researchers suggest that Schinderhannes gives a hint. Their appendages may be an equivalent to those found in the ancient predatory ancestor, Anomalocaris — even though creatures with those head structures were thought to have become extinct by the middle of the Cambrian Period, 100 million years before Schinderhannes lived.

The fossil's head section has large bulbous eyes, a circular mouth opening and a pair of segmented, opposable appendages with spines projecting inward along their length. The trunk section is made up of 12 segments, each with small appendages, and a long tail spine. Between the head and trunk, there is a pair of large triangular wing-like limbs — that likely propelled the creature like a swimming penguin, according to Briggs. Unlike its ancestors from the Cambrian period, which reached three feet in length, Schinderhannes is only about 4 inches long.

This finding caps almost 20 years of study by Briggs on the Hunsrück Slate. "Sadly, the quarry from which this fabulous material comes has closed for economic reasons, so the only additional specimens that are going to appear now are items that are already in collectors' hands and that may not have been fully prepared or realized for what they are," said Briggs.

Other authors of the paper are Gabriele Kühl and Jes Rust at the University of Bonn, Germany. Funding for the research was from the German Science Foundation and the Humboldt Foundation.

Citation: Science (February 6, 2009)
 
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#13
Eurypterids are scary animals. I'm glad they're not around anymore. I believe horseshoe crabs are the closest living relative?
 
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New fossils reveal a world full of crocodiles
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... eal-a-worl

New fossils unearthed in what is now the Sahara desert reveal a once-swampy...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New fossils unearthed in what is now the Sahara desert reveal a once-swampy world

divided up among a half-dozen species of unusual and perhaps intelligent crocodiles, researchers reported on Thursday.

They have given some of the new species snappy names -- BoarCroc, RatCroc, DogCroc, DuckCroc and PancakeCroc -- but say their findings help build an understanding of how crocodilians were and remain such a successful life form.

They lived during the Cretaceous period 145 million to 65 million years ago, when the continents were closer together and the world warmer and wetter than it is now.

"We were surprised to find so many species from the same time in the same place," said paleontologist Hans Larsson of McGill University in Montreal who worked on the study.

"Each of the crocs apparently had different diets, different behaviors. It appears they had divided up the ecosystem, each species taking advantage of it in its own way."

Larsson and Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, funded by National Geographic, studied the jaws, teeth and what few bones they had of the crocodiles. They also did CT scans, which are computer-enhanced x-rays, to see inside the skulls.

Two of the species, DogCroc and DuckCroc, had brains that looked different from those of modern crocodiles.

"They may have had slightly more sophisticated brain function than living crocs because active hunting on land usually requires more brain power than merely waiting for prey to show up," Larsson said in a statement.

RatCroc, a new species formally named Araripesuchus rattoides, was found in Morocco and would have used its buck-toothed lower jaw to grub for food.

PancakeCroc, known scientifically as Laganosuchus thaumastos, was 20 feet long with a big, flat head.

DuckCroc represents new fossils found in Niger from a previously known species called Anatosuchus minor. It would have eaten grubs and frogs with its broad snout.

The more ferocious BoarCroc was also 20 feet long but ran upright and had a jaw built for ramming, with three pairs of knife-like teeth.

Some walked upright with their legs under the body like a land mammal instead of sprawled out to the sides, bellies touching the ground.

"Their amphibious talents in the past may be the key to understanding how they flourished in, and ultimately survived, the dinosaur era," Sereno wrote in a separate article for National Geographic.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)
 
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#15
'Gigantic scorpion' fossil found in Fife
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scot ... 632427.stm
Artist's impression of Hibbertopterus
The animal was about two metres long and one metre wide

A cast is being made of tracks left by a two-metre long ancient animal in north east Fife.

The tracks were made by a giant six-legged "sea scorpion" called Hibbertopterus as it crawled over damp sand about 330 million years ago.

It is the largest known walking trackway of a eurypterid or any invertebrate animal.

The tracks were discovered by Dr Martin Whyte from the University of Sheffield while he was out walking.

Scottish Natural Heritage, which is funding the project, described the find as unique and internationally important because the creature was gigantic.
The fossil in north east Fife
The groove was made by the tail of the animal as it dragged over the sand

It said the fossil would be moulded in silicone so that more people could see and research it.

Richard Batchelor from Geoheritage Fife, said: "The trackway is in a precarious situation, having been exposed for years to weathering.

"The rock in which it occurs is in danger of falling off altogether.

"Removing it and housing it in a museum would be prohibitively costly but moulding it in silicone rubber and making copies for educational and research purposes means that we can still see and research this huge creature's tracks in years to come."

The animal, which is related to modern-day scorpions and horseshoe crabs, was about two metres long and about one metre wide.

'Geological treasures'

The trackway, which is preserved in sandstone, consists of three rows of crescent shaped footprints on each side of a central groove.

The groove was made by the tail of the animal as it dragged over the sand.

This contrasts previous fossil evidence which suggested that the creatures lived in the water for most, if not all of the time.

SNH geologist Colin MacFadyen said: "Helping to conserve this important find is vital for our understanding of this period in evolution.

"Such finds as this highlight that all over Scotland there are no doubt other geological treasures awaiting discovery."
 
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#16
Nice kitty...

Ancient 'cat-like' crocodile had bite like a mammal
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10874312

By Katia Moskvitch Science reporter, BBC News
Pakasuchus kapilimai, artist's drawing Long ago, crocodile-like creatures might have hunted dragonflies

Palaeontologists working in Tanzania have unearthed fossils of a tiny crocodile-like creature with teeth resembling those of mammals.

The animal, Pakasuchus kapilimai, lived between 144 and 65 million years ago - during the Cretaceous - in what is now sub-Saharan Africa.

Scientists say the find shows that crocs were once more diverse than they are today.

The team reports its discovery in the journal Nature.

Paka means "cat" in Kiswahili, Tanzania's official language, and refers to the reptile's short, low skull with slicing, molar-like teeth.

Patrick O'Connor, associate professor of anatomy at the Ohio University College of osteopathic medicine, led an international team of researchers.
Advertisement

X-ray computed tomography gave a 3D view of the crocodilian's unusual bite

He said the new animal was a lot smaller than its modern relatives, adding that "its head would fit in the palm of your hand".

It also looked quite different from modern "crocodilians" - the group which includes alligators and crocodiles, he added.

"At first glance, this croc is trying very hard to be a mammal," said Professor O'Connor.

"If you only looked at the teeth, you wouldn't think this was a crocodile. You would wonder what kind of strange mammal or mammal-like reptile it is."
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

At first glance, this croc is trying very hard to be a mammal”

End Quote Patrick O'Connor Ohio University

The scientists used X-ray computed tomography to analyse the creature's skull and jaw.

The digital images revealed that this reptile possessed dental features that had previously only been thought to exist in mammals, such as teeth with shearing edges used to process food.

According to co-author Nancy Stevens, also at Ohio University, the ancient reptile "occupied a dramatically different feeding niche than do modern crocodilians".

Dr Stevens explained that the tiny crocodile was able to bite and swallow just like mammals.

Typically, crocodiles have simple, conical teeth that serve to catch and tear prey.

Dr O'Connor and his colleagues classified Pakasuchus within an extinct crocodile group, the notosuchians, which lived sometime during the Cretaceous period.

At this time, the Earth was very different from today - a single landmass called Pangaea was in the process of dividing into smaller continents, including Laurasia in the north and Gondwanaland in the south.

"The presence of morphologically bizarre and highly specialised notosuchian crocodyliforms (crocodilians) like Pakasuchus in the southern landmasses, along with an apparently low diversity of mammals in the same areas, has potentially profound ecological implications," said co-author Joseph Sertich of Stony Brook University, US.

"This entire group of crocodiles deviates radically from the 'typical' crocodile, most notably in their bizarre dentition, demonstrating a diversification not seen in the Northern Hemisphere during this time interval."

Besides having strange teeth, it also had an extremely flexible backbone.

Scientists think the animal lived mostly on land and not in the water, probably hunting insects and other small animals to survive.
 
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#17
The largest known true crocodile identified
http://phys.org/news/2012-05-largest-tr ... odile.html
May 5th, 2012 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

Crocodile. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

A crocodile large enough to swallow humans once lived in East Africa, according to a University of Iowa researcher.

"It’s the largest known true crocodile,” says Christopher Brochu, associate professor of geoscience. “It may have exceeded 27 feet in length. By comparison, the largest recorded Nile crocodile was less than 21 feet, and most are much smaller.”

Brochu’s paper on the discovery of a new crocodile species was just published in the May 3 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. The new species lived between 2 and 4 million years ago in Kenya. It resembled its living cousin, the Nile crocodile, but was more massive.

He recognized the new species from fossils that he examined three years ago at the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi. Some were found at sites known for important human fossil discoveries. “It lived alongside our ancestors, and it probably ate them,” Brochu says. He explains that although the fossils contain no evidence of human/reptile encounters, crocodiles generally eat whatever they can swallow, and humans of that time period would have stood no more than four feet tall.

"We don’t actually have fossil human remains with croc bites, but the crocs were bigger than today’s crocodiles, and we were smaller, so there probably wasn’t much biting involved,” Brochu says.

He adds that there likely would have been ample opportunity for humans to encounter crocs. That’s because early man, along with other animals, would have had to seek water at rivers and lakes where crocodiles lie in wait.
Regarding the name he gave to the new species, Brochu said there was never a doubt.

The crocodile Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni is named after John Thorbjarnarson, famed crocodile expert and Brochu’s colleague who died of malaria while in the field several years ago.

“He was a giant in the field, so it only made sense to name a giant after him,” Brochu says. “I certainly miss him, and I needed to honor him in some way. I couldn’t not do it.”

Among the skills needed for one to discover a new species of crocodile is, apparently, a keen eye.

Not that the fossilized crocodile head is small—it took four men to lift it. But other experts had seen the fossil without realizing it was a new species. Brochu points out that the Nairobi collection is “beautiful” and contains many fossils that have been incompletely studied. “So many discoveries could yet be made,” he says.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Brochu has made a discovery involving fossils from eastern Africa. In 2010, he published a paper on his finding a man-eating horned crocodile from Tanzania named Crocodylus anthropophagus—a crocodile related to his most recent discovery.

Brochu says Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni is not directly related to the present-day Nile crocodile. This suggests that the Nile crocodile is a fairly young species and not an ancient “living fossil,” as many people believe. “We really don’t know where the Nile crocodile came from,” Brochu says, “but it only appears after some of these prehistoric giants died out.”

Provided by University of Iowa
 
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#18
Skull fragments reveal new ancient crocodile species
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26519396

Illustration of the Koumpiodontosuchus aprosdokiti

The newly discovered crocodile species was similar to those living today

Two fossilised skull fragments from a 2ft (60cm) crocodile found on the Isle of Wight point to the discovery of a new ancient species, a study has found.

The pieces - a snout and back part of the skull - were found by different private collectors three months apart.

Experts at the Dinosaur Isle museum near Sandown found the 126 million-year-old fragments "fitted together perfectly to make a complete skull".

The species has been named Koumpiodontosuchus aprosdokiti.

The name - meaning "unexpected button-toothed crocodile" - was given by University of Portsmouth palaeontologist Dr Steve Sweetman, who has published a paper on the discovery in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Continue reading the main story
Cretaceous period

The Cretaceous period began 142 million years ago
With sea levels at their highest, much of what we now know as dry land - including southern England and the US Midwest - was under water
Theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Spinosaurus were the top predators
Ended with the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, famed for the death of the dinosaurs
Meet the Cretaceous period killer no bigger than a turkey
The first piece, the skull, was found on a beach near Sandown in March 2011 by Diane Trevarthen who was on a fossil-hunting holiday with her family.

She took it to the museum where staff thought it might belong to a large Cretaceous crocodile baby.

Three months later, Austin and Finley Nathan found the snout while fossil-hunting on their holiday.

When museum staff saw their find, they recalled seeing the other piece and asked Ms Trevarthen to bring it back.

Both collectors donated their specimens to the museum.

A figure from the journal paper showing pictures and diagrams of the skull
The bone structure at the back of the palate of the skull is different to other ancient species
Dr Sweetman said: "Both parts of this wonderful little skull are in good condition, which is most unusual when you consider that crashing waves usually batter and blunt the edges of fossils like this within days or even hours of them being washed onto the beach.

"Both parts must therefore have been found very soon after they were released from the mud and debris originally laid down on a dinosaur-trampled river floodplain around 126 million years ago.

"The sheer serendipity of this discovery is quite bizarre.

"Finding the two parts is in itself remarkable. That they should be found three months apart by different collectors and taken to the museum where the same members of staff were on duty and therefore able to recall the first specimen defies belief."

Dr Steve Sweetman on the beach where the fossils were found
Dr Steve Sweetman examined the fragments found on the beach near Sandown in 2011
When he first saw it Dr Sweetman thought the skull belonged to a Bernissartia fagesii crocodile, known from skeletons of a similar age discovered in Belgium and Spain.

"I was convinced it was a Bernissartia skull because of its small size - the fully grown animal was only a little over two feet long from nose to tail - but particularly because of its button-shaped teeth, which are unique among crocodyliforms.

"They were used to crush mollusc shells and other invertebrates with tough outer coatings."

But after the skull had been cleaned, Dr Sweetman could see it had significant differences in the arrangement of bones.

"The location of the hole in the mouth, where the airway from the nose opens, was surrounded by bones at the very back of the palate.

"This tells us that the discovery is not only a new species but also a new genus of ancient croc closely related to, but subtly different to, those alive today."
 
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#19
Fossilised crocodile tooth 'largest of its kind in UK'

The fossilised tooth of the Dakosaurus maximus was discovered off Chesil Beach in Dorset and is now housed at the Natural History Museum in London

The fossilised tooth of a prehistoric crocodile has been recorded as the largest of its kind found in the UK.

The 2in (5.5cm) tooth was dredged from the seabed near Chesil Beach, Dorset.

It belonged to an ancient relative of modern crocodiles, known as Dakosaurus maximus.

Researchers from the the University of Edinburgh and curators from the Natural History Museum identified it after it was bought at an online auction by a fossil collector about a year ago.

Artist's impression of a Dakosaurus maximus
The shape of its skull and teeth suggests it ate similar prey to killer whales
The tooth, which has a broken tip, is now in the fossil collection of the London-based museum.

'Exceptionally dangerous'
Dakosaurus maximus grew to about 4.5m (15ft) in length and swam in the shallow seas of Europe 152 million years ago, according to the team's research published in the scientific journal Historical Biology.

The shape of its skull and teeth suggest it ate similar prey to killer whales, using its broad, short jaws to swallow fish whole and to bite chunks from larger prey.

Dr Mark Young, from the university's school of biological sciences, said: "Given its size, Dakosaurus had very large teeth.

"However, it wasn't the top marine predator of its time, and would have swum alongside other larger marine reptiles, making the shallow seas of the Late Jurassic period exceptionally dangerous."
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-dorset-27606864
 
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#20
Earth's first big predatory monster was a weird water bug as big as Tom Cruise, newly found fossils show.

Almost half a billion years ago, way before the dinosaurs roamed, Earth's dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 170 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches), with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a new study.

Scientists found signs of these new monsters of the prehistoric deep in Iowa, of all places.

Geologists at the Iowa Geological Survey found 150 pieces of fossils about 18 metres (60 feet) under the Upper Iowa River, part of which had to be temporarily dammed to allow them to collect the specimens. Then scientists at Yale University determined they were a new species from about 460 million years ago, when Iowa was under an ocean

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/g...en-earth-s-1st-big-predator-1.3211106?cmp=rss
 

Jim

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#21
Earth's first big predatory monster was a weird water bug as big as Tom Cruise, newly found fossils show.

Almost half a billion years ago, way before the dinosaurs roamed, Earth's dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 170 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches), with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a new study.

Scientists found signs of these new monsters of the prehistoric deep in Iowa, of all places.

Geologists at the Iowa Geological Survey found 150 pieces of fossils about 18 metres (60 feet) under the Upper Iowa River, part of which had to be temporarily dammed to allow them to collect the specimens. Then scientists at Yale University determined they were a new species from about 460 million years ago, when Iowa was under an ocean

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/g...en-earth-s-1st-big-predator-1.3211106?cmp=rss
I beleive your referring to Pterygotus the largest sea scorpion (arthropod) of all time. This creature is supposed to have ambushed prey (trilobites, fish) and subdued them with its claws. Unlike other sea scorpions it was to large to leave the water. It's est. to have grown up to > 9' in length.
 

PeteByrdie

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#24
Earth's first big predatory monster was a weird water bug as big as Tom Cruise
So, not very big then!

The article has the headline:
"Human-sized Pentecopterus decorahensis attacked prey with claws attached to its head"

Make your minds up! Is it human sized or Tom Cruise sized? Okay, I'll leave it there. I've had nearly four months, and that's all I've come up with.

Pentecopterus decorahensis fossils come from Iowa. How do you figure this was Pentecopterus decorahensis when the tracks were found in Scotland?
We're mixing up two different stories on this thread. Let's take a moment to review the previous posts.
 

Monstrosa

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#25

Jim

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#26
The 1st portion of the URL I posted reads as follows below:

A cast is being made of tracks left by a two-metre long ancient animal in north east Fife.
The tracks were made by a giant six-legged "sea scorpion" called Hibbertopterus as it crawled over damp sand about 330 million years ago.
It is the largest known walking trackway of a eurypterid or any invertebrate animal.
...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibbertopterus

I don't know how to further clarify?
 

Monstrosa

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#27
Your post #15 quotes post#14 which is about Pentecopterus decorahensis.

Is that clear?
 

Jim

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#28
Your post #15 quotes post#14 which is about Pentecopterus decorahensis.

Is that clear?
My previous post 17 and 21 clearly state that the tracks were left by the eurypterid Hibbertopterus in Scotland. It seemed the purpose of the tread (if staying on topic) was the sensational find of the ancient invertebrate tracts.

This has nothing to do with Pentecopterus decorahensis which is completely separate species of eurypterid found in North America.

I will repost the URL's concerning Hibbertoperus and the tracks it left in Scotland one more time for clarity.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/8632427.stm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibbertopterus
 
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PeteByrdie

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#29
My previous post 17 and 21 clearly state that the tracks were left by the eurypterid Hibbertopterus in Scotland.
Sorry Jim but you original post was this one, which was a response to Ramon's posting of this article, which was specifically and solely about Pentecopterus decorahensis. I don't think you read the article before responding.
 
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#30
For what it's worth, a local news article about that Iowan species - an arthropod so large it even dwarfs Tom Cruise - now immortalised in a municipal artwork:

Waiting 467 million years for a starring role

'The object of all that media attention along the Upper Iowa River in Freeport on Thursday afternoon? That would be the statue of "Pentecopterus Decorahensis," the six-foot-long sea scorpion that roamed the area 467 million years ago'.
Full article here at decorahnews.com
 
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