Today's crocodiles may seem fearsome, but an even bigger and predatory version of the animal is believed to have lived on Earth about 130 million years ago.
A new study documents the discovery of this previously unknown marine creature which, thus far, is the largest of its kind in the world.
Based on the recovered remains found in Tunisia, researchers have determined that the prehistoric creature likely had a weight of three tons and a length of more than 30 feet.
And with a skull measuring five feet long, the lead author, Federico Fanti, has been quoted as saying, "This is an incredibly big crocodile. It is twice as big as a present day marine crocodile."
Photo: Davide Bonadonna
Aside from the size differential, it is believed that the animal resembled its smaller, modern counterpart in most other ways, but its snout was likely more narrow enabling the ancient creature to swim in the ocean.
The researchers believe this discovery calls into question widely held views about the mass extinction because the species was likely wiped out 20 million years prior to the date of the current specimen.
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