'Carolina Butcher' terrorized North America in pre-dinosaur era
It is well established that many types of dinosaurs were dangerous and destructive sorts, causing mayhem wherever they roamed -- but they were not the first reptilian menaces to exist in North America.
Before the days of the dinosaur, there once lived a fanged, approximately 9-foot long crocodile-like creature with an almost insatiable blood lust.
Its existence was only recently discovered, and it's been dubbed the 'Carolina Butcher'.
The bones were dug up from a quarry in North Carolina about 10 years ago, but they were examined some time later.
The researchers determined that not only do they belong to a previously unknown species, the animal is among the oldest and largest modern-day crocodile ancestors ever discovered.
It terrorized the land about 230 million years ago, when Pangea was still a supercontinent -- albeit a dispersing one -- and the climate in what is now the southeastern region of the US was equatorial.
Among its intimidating characteristics was that it likely walked on its two hind legs, towering above a bevy of smaller and less fierce creatures. Also working in its favor was a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
Mighty though it was, the 'Butcher' was no match for the dinosaurs that appeared soon after. It's believed they were the ultimate agents in the beast's demise.
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