The fossilised remains of a crocodile,
Dakosaurus andiniensis, which ruled the oceans 140
million years ago were discovered in Patagonia in 2005.
The US-Argentine team of researchers behind
the discovery nicknamed the creature 'Godzilla', because of its
dinosaur-like snout and jagged teeth. The team believed that
the animal was a ferocious predator, feeding on other marine
reptiles and large sea creatures. The findings were unveiled
in the journal Science.
Unlike modern crocodiles, it lived entirely
in the water, and had fins instead of legs. It measured four
metres (thirteen feet) from nose to tail and its jaws alone
were 33% of a metre long (one foot).
Crocodiles became widespread during the Cretaceous
period (146 to 65 million years ago). Other marine crocodiles alive
at the same time 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 teeth.
While features of this type are present in
carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex, it showed
an unexpected morphology which nobody thought could be present
in a marine crocodile.