Quirks & Quarks

The last giant ocean crocodile

Ten meters long and weighing several tonnes, this animal was the last of its kind

130 million years ago this giant croc crunched down on sea turtles

Artist's impression of Machimosaurus rex (Davide Bonadonna)
A 10-meter long, multi-tonne crocodile hunted in the seas of the early Cretaceous period, 130 million years ago, and its enormous fossilized skeleton is slowly being unearthed in Tunisia by paleontologists.

Tetsuto Miyashita, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, and his colleagues, have so far only retrieved the head of the fossil, which itself is a meter and a half long, and contains large and sturdy bullet-shaped teeth.

They suspect these teeth were adapted to crushing the thick shells of marine turtles. Machimosaurus rex was the largest, and likely the last, of the large group of ocean-going crocodiles of the Dinosaur Age.

Related Links

Paper in Cretaceous Research
- University of Alberta release
CBC News story
National Geographic story