Thursday, February 17, 2005

New Fossil Crocodile Unveiled in Brazil

Uberabasuchus terrificus (=terrible crocodile of Uberaba), a new genus and species of crocodile from the Late Cretaceous of Brazil,was unveiled Wednesday at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It lived 70 million years ago and was smaller than today's crocodiles - only about three meters (10 feet) long and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), said paleontologist Ismar de Souza Carvalho. Despite some similarities with modern-day crocodiles, Uberabasuchus became extinct when the other great dinosaurs died out, and it has no relation to today's crocodiles. Fossils similar to Uberabasuchus have been found in Africa and in Antarctica, which possibly were linked to South America.
Carvalho said Uberabasuchus lived on land -- it was named because the fossil was found near Uberaba, an inland city in southeastern Brazil. It probably carried its body high off the ground on sturdy legs and was a strong and voracious.