by Joe Newbury, age 12
Recently, scientists discovered a prehistoric crocodile in the Tunisian desert. They named it the “Machimosaurus Rex.”
The Machimosaurus is the biggest known ocean-dwelling crocodile to ever have existed. It grew to about 31 feet long and weighed three tons, or 6,000 pounds. It had stocky, short, and rounded teeth. It also had a massive skull capable of a remarkable bite force.
The Machimosaurus Rex was likely a generalist hunter that ate a variety of animals, scientists suggest.
“It would likely have been something of an ambush predator, hanging around in shallow water hunting turtles and fishes and maybe waiting for some land animals to come a little too close to the shore,” said Stephen Brunsatte, a paleontologist from the University of Edinburg. Specifically, the Machimosaurus probably hunted lots of animals from salmon to turtles.
This prehistoric crocodile inhabited a place that hasn't been previously well-explored by researchers seeking fossils of the crocodile's remains. The find included many different bones including a skull.
Scientists continue to debate whether there was a mass extinction at the end of the Jurassic period. This would explain the Machimosaurus' ultimate demise. Radio-carbon dating suggests that these Jurassic animals were alive after the mass-extinction, however. Some scientists still think that there might have been a mass extinction, but that it might not have happened all at once. Perhaps future research will lead us closer to the truth.
[Source: National Geographic]