Discovery of a new species of crocodile extinct in Australia

A new species of extinct crocodile dating back millions of years has been discovered in Australia’s sparsely populated Outback.

A team from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (NT) announced on Monday that they have identified the new species belonging to the genus Baru but have not yet named it, reports the Xinhua news agency.

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Adam Yates, senior curator of earth sciences at the museum, said the best example of a crocodile skull was found northeast of Alice Springs in central Australia in 2009.

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Based on the skull, which is 8 million years old, Yates said the Baru was comparable in size to a saltwater crocodile but significantly heavier.

“This particular specimen is one of the last of its kind. It is by far the finest and most complete skull of a Baru crocodile that has ever been found,” he told Australian Broadcasting. Corporation (ABC).

He said the crocodile probably weighed more than an equivalent length of a saltwater crocodile, or probably hundreds of pounds.

“Its thick, heavy, deep jaws, very strongly built, and its really massive teeth all indicate that it was a crocodile that specialized in catching megafauna,” he said.

“(Modern crocodiles) feed mainly on small fish and small prey. This guy didn’t subsist on small things. He was specialized in taking big things all the time.”

Baru crocodiles have inhabited Australia for 25 million years while modern crocodiles arrived on the continent from Africa a few million years ago.

“Australian crocodiles are actually recent arrivals to the Australian continent. They belong to the genus Crocodylus, which probably originated in Africa,” Yates said.

“While Australia’s original endemic crocodiles like this have completely disappeared.”

The name of the new species will be announced in 2022.

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