The largest known crocodile was big enough to swallow a human being and likely terrorized our ancestors two to four million years ago.
Remains of the enormous horned croc, named Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni, were unearthed in East Africa. The impressive aquatic reptile exceeded 27 feet long and is described in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The croc was the dominant predator of its ecosystem, so there is little doubt that it preyed upon our distant ancestors, especially since remains of Australopithecus (a now-extinct genus of hominids) were found nearby.
These relatively tiny individuals would have had no choice but to enter the crocodile’s territory for much needed water.
"Humans might have eaten food along a lakeside or riverbank, but more importantly, they would have needed water to drink," lead author Christopher Brochu told Discovery News. "This would have brought them right to where the crocodiles might have been living." Read more.
Egyptian authorities put another archaeological site on the country’s tourist map yesterday by opening a visitor center at Madinet Madi in the Fayoum region south of Cairo.
Founded during the reigns of Amenemhat III (about 1859-1813 B.C.) and Amenemhat IV (about 1814-1805 B.C.) of the 12th Dynasty, Madinet Madi contains the ruins of the only Middle Kingdom temple in Egypt.
Approached by a paved processional way lined by lions and sphinxes, the temple was dedicated to the cobra-headed goddess Renenutet, and the crocodile-headed god, Sobek of Scedet, patron god of the region.
Now almost forgotten by tourists, the site was swarming with pilgrims in ancient times.
Indeed, 10 Coptic churches dating from the 5th to 7th centuries and the remains of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the crocodile god were unearthed in the past decades by renowned Egyptologist Edda Bresciani of Pisa University, who has been excavating the area since 1978. Read more.
The nearly complete skull of a new species of ancient crocodile cousin has been found in Brazil, paleontologists say.
The animal is what’s called a crocodyliform, part of a group known as the crocodilians that includes modern-day alligators, caimans, and more.
Dubbed Pepesuchus deiseae, the new species lived between 99 million to 65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period. Brazilian National Museum paleontologists recently found a skull and jawbone of the crocodile cousin at a fossil site in São Paulo state. Read more.