Prehistoric “Shield”-Headed Croc Found

“One of a kind” creature may have hunted like a pelican, paleontologists say.

A new prehistoric croc sporting an odd head “shield” has been found in Morocco, according to a study published Tuesday.

Dubbed ShieldCroc, the animal’s head appendage was surrounded by blood vessels and covered with a sheath like those seen in frilled dinosaurs, including Triceratops.

At 30 to 35 feet (9 to 11 meters) long, the river-dwelling monster would have preyed on other giant animals of the late Cretaceous, such as 13-foot-long (4-meter-long) coelacanths. But ShieldCroc—formally Aegisuchus witmeri—likely boasted relatively weak jaws, at least compared with those of today’s crocodiles.

“It’s fairly certain that it belonged to a group of crocodyliforms—including the flat-headed crocs—that had really thin, weak jaws and weak chin joints,” said researcher Casey Holliday, a paleontologist at the University of Missouri. Crocodyliforms are part of a group known as the crocodilians, which includes modern-day alligators, caimans, and more. (See alligator and crocodile pictures.)

“So they weren’t wrestling dinosaurs on the water’s edge. They would have been quick, snap feeders waiting for prey to come by and then grabbing it and swallowing it with large, basket-shaped mouths—something like a pelican would do,” said Holliday, who co-authored the new study in the journal PLoS ONE.

(See “Giant Prehistoric Croc Found Near World’s Biggest Snake.”)

ShieldCroc’s Headpiece for Show?

A piece of ShieldCroc’s skull landed in Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum in the early 2000s, but Holliday and colleagues have only recently studied the specimen and its odd headpiece.

It’s difficult to determine what purpose the shield served when the animal lived, some 99 million years ago, Holliday noted.

But after rigorous evaluation of the fossil and studies of comparative behaviors with modern crocodilians, scientists suggest the shield may have helped ShieldCroc regulate its temperature and communicate with other ShieldCrocs.


Related Posts

Appeared a deformed chicken with 4 very large legs in Thailand (Video)

They say doп’t coυпt yoυr chickeпs, bυt yoυ’d be excυsed for coυпtiпg the legs oп this chickeп саᴜɡһt oп tape iп Thailaпd.The Zagreb video featυres some bemυsed…

The appearance of a strange two-headed crocodile makes everyone bewildered

Aaron Conrad of Lutz was among those not buying that photo of a two-headed alligator on tbt*’s cover Monday. “I am going to have to call fake on your…

Surprise: A strange goat with 3 heads has just been born

On March 25th, DAVIDSON—Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not arrived on Davidson to confirm the birth of a three-headed calf. On Gordon Willner’s farm…

Strange sea monster 10 meters long was caught by fishermen in China

According to China Central Teleʋision (CCTV), a fisherмan in the eastern Chinese proʋince of Fujian caught a “sea мonster” up to 10м long and weighing nearly 20…

Giant bat with dog head causes panic

Note: Scroll down to watch the video The haммer-headed Ƅat, also kпowп as the haммer head fruit Ƅat aпd Ƅig-lipped Ƅat, is oпe of the мost uпique species…

Rare ‘alien of the deep’ goblin shark found in Australia

SYDNEY, Australia – A rare sea creature described as an “alien of the deep” has been found off Australia and delivered to a museum which showed off…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *