These ancient crocodiles swallowed dinosaurs!
Posted on May 05 2014 | IANS
New York, May 5 : Even the giant dinosaurs could not intimidate the crocodilians, the ancient relatives of saltwater crocodiles.
They killed the dinosaurs with with "death rolls" that involved holding their prey tight with their mighty jaws and spinning their entire bodies to rip off flesh or tear off limbs, a study has suggested.
Saltwater crocodile is the largest of all reptiles alive today, but their ancestors were even bigger.
From the bite marks found on fossils, researchers assessed that Deinosuchus that could reach a length of 12 metre and weigh more than 8,500 kgs preyed on dinosaurs such as hadrosaurs, which were large duck-billed dinosaurs, and medium-size bipedal dinosaurs known as theropods.
A saltwater crocodile can grow at least 7 metres long and weigh more than 1,000 kg.
Deinosuchus and Purussaurus (another giant crocodilian species) could execute death rolls on on dinosaurs as their skulls were strong enough to withstand the enormous pressure of spinning the giant animals, suggested the researchers.
"It is possible that very large specimens use other approaches for taking chunks of meat from large vertebrates," Ernesto Blanco, a paleobiomechanicist at the Institute of Physics in Uruguay, was quoted as saying.
The findings of the research appeared in the journal Historical Biology.