Remains of Largest Maritime Crocodile Ever Discovered Found in Tunisia
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The remains of a fearsome giant crocodile which roamed the oceans around 120 million years ago have been found in the Tunisian desert.
The prehistoric predator, known as a Machimosaurus rex, weighed three tons - more than a Ford Transit van - and lived 120 million years ago.
The creature, the biggest sea-dwelling crocodile ever found, has been described by paleontologists in the journal Cretaceous Research, Mirror reported on Tuesday.
The remains, which were found in the Tunisian desert, don't form a whole skeleton, but there was enough in the rock to tell boffins that the reptile is the largest known member of a peculiar lineage of crocodiles which lived at sea.
University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte, who was not involved with the new study, told National Geographic : “This is a neat new discovery from a part of the world that hasn’t been well-explored for fossils."
The fossils which have been recovered by Federico Fanti of the University of Bologna in Italy and colleagues - with support from the National Geographic Society - include a skull and some other bones.
The area is still being scanned for a more complete skeleton, but Fanti has estimated with what has been found so far that the beast was 31 feet in length.
Although this might be shy of some later freshwater relatives, it is the biggest sea-living croc to date.