The fossilised remains of a crocodile that ruled the oceans 140
million years ago have been discovered in Patagonia.
Scientists have nicknamed the creature Godzilla, because of its
dinosaur-like snout and jagged teeth.
The US-Argentine team of researchers believes the animal was a
ferocious predator, feeding on other marine reptiles and large sea
The species is formally known as Dakosaurus andiniensis and has
been unveiled in the journal Science.
Unlike modern crocodiles, it lived entirely in the water, and
had fins instead of legs. It measured 4m (13ft) from nose to tail
and its jaws alone were a third of a metre (1ft) long.
Crocodiles became widespread during the Cretaceous Period (146
to 65 million years ago).
Other marine crocodiles alive then had long, slim snouts and
needle-like teeth, which they used to catch small fish and molluscs.
But this creature had a dinosaur-like snout and large, serrated
"These sorts of features are also present in carnivorous
dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex," said co-researcher Diego Pol, of
Ohio State University in Columbus, US.
"It shows a really unexpected morphology that nobody thought
could be present in a marine crocodile."